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Environmental Science
Carl Mitchell

The Atmosphere and Weather Atmosphere is the thin layer of gases that surrounds the earth. o Provides us with oxygen, absorbs hazardous solar radiation, burns up incoming meteors, transports and recycles water and nutrients, and moderates climates o Consists of 78% nitrogen gas 21% oxygen gas 1% argon gas o Some of which are permanent gases (remain at stable concentrations) or variable gases (vary in concentration from time to time) Atmosphere chemical composition has changed over time. Human activity is altering the quantities of some atmospheric gases o Carbon Dioxide o Methane o Ozone The Atmosphere is Layered Is a thin coating about 1100 of earths diameter, like the fuzzy skin of a peach. Coating consists of four layers o Trophosphere Bottommost layer Blankets earth surface Provides with air we need to live Air within troposphere responsible for the planets weather Contains of the atmospheres mass, as air is denser near earths surface Troposphereic air temperature declines 6C for each km in altitude. At the top of the troposphere, temperatures decline with altitude, marking a boundary called tropopause (upper boundary of trophosphere, limits mixing between troposphere and the stratosphere o Stratosphere extends from 11km and 50km above sea level 1000 times as dry and less dense then troposphere Gases experience little vertical mixing, so when pollutants enter they stay for a long time Attains a max temperature of -3C at its highest altitude, is colder in its lower reaches Because the ozone and oxygen absorb and scatter the suns ultraviolet radiation so that much of the UV radiation penetrating the upper stratosphere fails to reach the lower stratosphere Ozone layer contains most of the atmospheres minute amount of ozone from 17km to 30km above sea level Reduces the amount of UV radiation that reaches the earths surface UV light can damage living tissue and induce mutations in DNA Its protective effects are vital for life on earth o Mesosphere Extends from 50km to 80km above sea level Air pressure is low Temperatures decrease with altitude, reaching their lowest point at the top of the mesosphere.
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