You're Out Of This Atmosphere

You're Out Of This Atmosphere

Our atmosphere has 5 main layers.

  1. Troposphere
  2. Stratosphere
  3. Mesosphere
  4. Thermosphere
  5. Exosphere

You can find a ton of Earth and Space TED-ed lessons!


But do you have any idea which layer we live in? 

The Troposphere. 

The troposphere starts from the Earth’s surface and goes up about 7-9 miles. This layer contains well over 70% of all of the mass in the atmosphere! This is a huge deal because the troposphere also controls our weather. The temperature mixture along with different gases, water vapors, and gravity allow us to experience distinct weather patterns throughout the different seasons!


Why is the atmosphere so important? 

It protects our planet from overheating!

It’s not a surprise that we get energy and warmth from the sun, but did you know the different layers of the atmosphere help reduce the sun's rays and radiation as it makes its way down to the Earth’s surface?

The troposphere, in particular, helps reduce a lot of heat as the rays approach the Earth’s surface, which allows for life on Earth.  Another thing to know is that the planetary boundary layer is the lowest part of the troposphere. In this region, the Earth’s surface (topography) strongly influences the temperature, moisture, and wind and relays this information to the rest of the troposphere.


What does this have to do with greenhouse gases and polar ice caps? 

Well, the more greenhouse gases are trapped, the warmer the planet gets. The warmer the planet gets, the more our polar regions melt. 


And why is polar ice so important? 

The white ice is actually reflective. This means it reflects some of the rays back towards the atmosphere and helps regulate the temperature for our entire planet. The more the ice melts, not only does it raise our sea levels, but it also contributes to more dark waters. The dark water holds onto the heat rays instead of reflecting them back. This means that instead of reducing the heat, the heat is actually gradually increasing.