Scientists have divided the earth’s atmosphere into four layers, each accordingly to the differences in temperature of each layer. These layers from lowest to highest altitude, are (1) the troposphere (2) the stratosphere, (3) the mesosphere, and (4) the thermosphere.
The troposphere: This is the layer of the atmosphere that is closest to our earth, subsequently the layer in which we reside in. The troposphere contains more than 75 percent of the earth’s atmosphere. Nearly all of earths weather conditions including, rain and snow, occur in this layer. Scientists forecast weather trends by looking closely at the troposphere. This layer also contains most of the aerosols and water vapor in the air. Jet streams are known to blow in the upper part of the troposphere. It is estimated that the temp of the troposphere falls about 3.5F, for every 1,000 feet (6.5C for every 1,000 meters), of increase in altitude. The temp will stop falling at the tropopause which is known to be, the upper limits of the troposphere. For example, the tropopause lies about 10 km over the North and South Poles, and about 10 miles over the Equator. At the tropopause the air has become way too thin to support human life.
The stratosphere: This layer stretches from the tropopause to about 48 km above the earth’s surface. Cloud formation here is quite rare. Most airplane pilots prefer to fly in the stratosphere, to stay above any poor weather conditions below. Temperature tends to rise here when there is an increase in altitude. The stratosphere contains most of the atmospheres ozone. Ozone in the upper layer of the stratosphere heats the air, by absorbing the ultraviolet rays produced by Sun.
The mesosphere: This extends form the stratopause (the top of the stratosphere), to about 80 km above the earth. The temperature of the mesosphere decreases with increased altitude. The lowest temperatures in the earth’s atmosphere occur in the mesopause (the top of the mesosphere). Trails of immensely hot gases from meteors can be seen in the mesosphere. Extremely fierce winds blow in atmospheric layer, in which they blow from west to east during winter and from east to west during the summer.
The thermosphere: This is the uppermost layer of the atmosphere. It starts with the mesopause and continues into outer space. The air in the thermosphere is extraordinarily thin. Some 99.99 percent of the atmosphere lies below it. In the lower part of the thermosphere, the oxygen molecules in earth’s air are broken into miniscule oxygen atoms. This outer layer of the thermosphere consists chiefly of hydrogen and helium. This layer is openly exposed to the Suns radiation, which inadvertently increases the heat in the air to incredible temperatures. When the Sun’s radiation, strikes the air in the thermosphere, it becomes ionized (charging electrically) some of the atoms and molecules left in the air. These charged atoms and molecules are known as ions. Most of these ions are generated in the lowest part of the thermosphere, which is called the ionosphere. This sphere plays an integral part in long-distance radio communications, as it mirrors back to earth radio waves that would more than likely continue into space, being lost forever.