Density is not measured directly but is calculated from measurements of temperature, pressure and humidity using the equation of state for air a form of the ideal gas law. This layer is mainly composed of extremely low densities of hydrogen, helium and several heavier molecules including nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide closer to the exobase. An example of such effects is the mirage. However, ionization in the mesosphere largely ceases during the night, so auroras are normally seen only in the thermosphere and lower exosphere. In summary, the mass of Earth's atmosphere is distributed approximately as follows: Here, the chemical composition varies with altitude. Meteors begin to glow in this region, though the larger ones may not burn up until they penetrate more deeply. Water-related sediments have been found that date from as early as 3. Absorption electromagnetic radiation Rough plot of Earth's atmospheric transmittance or opacity to various wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, including visible light. The ionosphere is a region of the atmosphere that is ionized by solar radiation.
Following the peak in vegetation, the drawdown of atmospheric CO2 due to photosynthesis is apparent, particularly over the boreal forests. This point signifies a shift from a reducing atmosphere to an oxidizing atmosphere. It has basically all the weather-associated cloud genus types generated by active wind circulation, although very tall cumulonimbus thunder clouds can penetrate the tropopause from below and rise into the lower part of the stratosphere. They are most readily visible when the Sun is around 4 to 16 degrees below the horizon. The large-scale structure of the atmospheric circulation varies from year to year, but the basic structure remains fairly constant because it is determined by Earth's rotation rate and the difference in solar radiation between the equator and poles. This is because clouds H2O are strong absorbers and emitters of infrared radiation. Thus air pressure varies with location and weather. For example, on clear nights Earth's surface cools down faster than on cloudy nights. The mesosphere is also the layer where most meteors burn up upon atmospheric entrance. It actually decreases exponentially with altitude, dropping by half every 5. As another example, due to a phenomenon called Rayleigh scattering , shorter blue wavelengths scatter more easily than longer red wavelengths. Periods with much oxygen in the atmosphere are associated with rapid development of animals. The greenhouse effect is directly related to this absorption and emission effect. Scattering When light passes through Earth's atmosphere, photons interact with it through scattering. Objects tend to emit amounts and wavelengths of radiation depending on their " black body " emission curves, therefore hotter objects tend to emit more radiation, with shorter wavelengths. However, the atmosphere is more accurately modeled with a customized equation for each layer that takes gradients of temperature, molecular composition, solar radiation and gravity into account. Exosphere The exosphere is the outermost layer of Earth's atmosphere i. Earth's surface is typically the warmest section of the troposphere. It contains the ozone layer, which is the part of Earth's atmosphere that contains relatively high concentrations of that gas. Molecules of free oxygen did not start to accumulate in the atmosphere until the rate of production of oxygen began to exceed the availability of reducing materials that removed oxygen. The air is so rarefied that an individual molecule of oxygen , for example travels an average of 1 kilometre 0. The upper part of the heterosphere is composed almost completely of hydrogen, the lightest element. Atmospheric circulation An idealised view of three large circulation cells. Evolution of Earth's atmosphere See also: During the day the planetary boundary layer usually is well-mixed, whereas at night it becomes stably stratified with weak or intermittent mixing. Space Shuttle Endeavour orbiting in the thermosphere. The maximum in the vegetation cycle follows in the late summer.
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