Facts about the layers that make up the atmosphere

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Atmospheric Layers

The Earth's atmosphere can be divided into distinct spherical layers separated by narrow transition zones, and are defined by differences in chemical composition and temperature gradients

Layer Name Height Comment
Equator Poles
Troposphere0-17 km0-10 kmContains the majority of the air, weather systems are found here, temperature ranges from an average of 14C at ground level to -52C
Tropopause--Marks the boundary between the troposphere & stratosphere
Stratosphere17-50 km8-50 kmIn this layer temperature increases as altitude increases, from -52C to -3C due to the absorption of UV radiation
Ozone layer--Found in the stratosphere absorbs certain wavelengths of UV radiation, UV-A & UV-B. This helps to regulate planetary temperature and helps reduce the UV radiation from damaging DNA molecules in living things causing cancer.
Stratopause--Marks the boundary between the stratosphere & mesosphere
Mesosphere50-85 kmTemperature decreases in this layer as altitude increases, falling to -94C at the top of the layer
Mesopause--Marks the boundary between the mesosphere & thermosphere
Thermosphere80 to ~640 kmThe temperature in this layer rises with altitude again, rising to as high as 1727C depending on solar activity. This is due to the absorption of solar radiation by the remaining oxygen molecules
Exosphere600 km onwards
blends into space
Transition layer between the outermost reach of the atmosphere and interplanetary space, extremely low density of molecules.

Related: Air Composition

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