The atmosphere of Earth consists mainly of the air-water vapor mixture held together by the gravity. This air-water mixture is separated into several layers according to climatic conditions, land, clouds and the ozone layer. The air-water vapor mixture is essential for sustaining life on Earth. Hence, it is important to understand what is the atmosphere, and the role it plays in the atmospheric processes.
The atmosphere of the earth is the solid layer of gas, commonly called “atmospheric gases”, that surrounds the earth and forms its global atmospheric circulation. The atmosphere is made up of many clouds, cumulus, stratus, and cirrus at different altitudes. Each of these clouds is associated with a different pressure, and hence the distribution of the atmosphere is also varied due to the variations in pressure of the clouds. Thus, the atmosphere is stratified, and there are seasonal differences in the atmospheric properties.
In fact, there are five layers of the atmosphere that are important for the earth’s climate and all the other processes that take place on earth are also based on the earths atmosphere, and its properties. The first layer is the thin layer that is above the Earth’s atmosphere and consists mainly of carbon dioxide. This is also the least important of the atmosphere layers, and its distribution is quite erratic. This layer helps to exchange the heat of the sun with the heat of the earth.
The next layer is the middle layer, which are mostly composed of nitrogen and oxygen, and is also called the “layer of life”. This layer helps to exchange the heat of the sun with the internal heat of the earth, and is therefore a vital element for the Earth. The uppermost layer is the very thin layer that comprises the atmosphere, and which contains very little amount of carbon dioxide and is rich in sulphur gases. This layer is often called “the air”, since it carries most of the earths gases.
The outermost layer is known as the “atmosphere” and consists mainly of water vapour and small amounts of carbon dioxide. It is the least volatile of the atmosphere layers and absorbs very little amount of solar heat. The lowest layer of the atmosphere is called the “osphere” and consists mainly of ammonia and nitrogen, and very little amounts of other gases. This layer serves as a temporary storage area for the heat that has escaped from below and is often frozen over. This is because it reflects the sun rays and prevents the escape of heat, and thus maintains the temperature level of the earth.
One may wonder why the earths atmosphere is so varied, and that there are only 5 layers. This is because the composition of the atmosphere depends on the nature of the clouds, the cirrus cloud, the tropopause, the intermediate cloud, and the stratosphere. The final layer is called the exosphere. This is made up of very few gases, and is the only “bio layer” in between the atmosphere and the earth’s surface.
A great deal of our knowledge about the composition of the atmosphere can be gained from studying the stars and the moon. These natural satellite observatories allow us to determine what is the atmosphere is made of. By studying the variation in the number of stars as well as the moon, we are able to determine what five layers are present. The reason the atmosphere is made up of only 5 layers can be explained by the fact that the earth spins once every month, and the atmosphere is spun out to fill in the “free space” left by the spin.
Another way of thinking about the composition of the atmosphere is to remember that all things are made up of smaller particles. Therefore, the air we breathe, and the earths atmosphere, consist of molecules. Another interesting fact is that the average size of the particles in the atmosphere is much larger than the average size of the sun. When the Sun emits radiation (light) into the atmosphere, it leaves behind smaller particles called quarks. Quarks are extremely ordinary in structure, so-to-say that they “align” or “go round” when they hit the surface of the Earth.