Weather Basics - The Layers Of The Atmosphere

Have you ever wondered where the Ozone Layer is or how high must one go to get to the Stratosphere? What about other layers of the atmosphere? In this video I explain the layers of the atmosphere as well as their boundaries and why we have these different, distinct layers.

The lower atmosphere, the part we live in, is known as the troposphere. This is the layer where most of the weather patterns occur in. Weather can also occur in the lowest part of the stratosphere due to the intense updrafts from severe thunderstorms. In the troposphere, the temperature drops with height.

Directly above the troposphere lies the stratosphere. The boundary between the stratosphere and the troposphere is known as the tropopause. The tropopause height will vary with latitude, seasons, and also on a daily basis as the atmosphere "breathes". The lower portions of the stratosphere is also known as the ozone layer since it is mostly composed of Ozone. Ozone is highly reactive and therefore heat is a byproduct of the chemical reactions occurring in the ozone layer due to the high ozone presence. Therefore, in the stratosphere, the temperature rises with height.

Above the stratosphere, lie the mesosphere, and the thermosphere. These two layers are extremely thin that nothing much occurs there, other then auroras in the thermosphere, and meteors in the mesosphere. Also, many satellites in near earth orbit are actually in the thermosphere. While it is technically referred to as part of earth's atmosphere, it is essentially outer space. The only difference is that there are random air molecules floating around zipping past each other. While one floating the thermosphere would feel extremely cold, the temperatures can rise to above 1,000˚C. This is not a temperature one feels but more of a temperature derived from the fact that the air molecules are moving so fast due to very little friction slowing them down at that altitude.