Earth’s layered atmosphere

Earth’s layered atmosphere

Fig. 4.19 . The pressure of our atmosphere (right scale) decreases with altitude (left scale). This is because fewer particles are able to overcome the Earth’s gravitational pull and reach higher altitudes. The temperature (bottom scale) also decreases steadily with height in the ground-hugging troposphere, but the temperature increases in two higher regions that are heated by the Sun. They are the stratosphere, with its critical ozone layer, and the ionosphere. The stratosphere is mainly heated by ultraviolet radiation from the Sun, and the ionosphere is created and modulated by the Sun’s X-ray and extreme ultraviolet radiation.

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University