A report on Atmosphere of Earth

NASA photo showing Earth's atmosphere at sunset, with Earth silhouetted
Composition of Earth's atmosphere by molecular count, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.0434% of the atmosphere (0.0442% at August 2021 concentrations ). Numbers are mainly from 2000, with and methane from 2019, and do not represent any single source.
Mean atmospheric water vapor
The mole fraction of the main constituents of the Earth's atmosphere as a function of height according to the MSIS-E-90 atmospheric model.
Earth's atmosphere Lower 4 layers of the atmosphere in 3 dimensions as seen diagonally from above the exobase. Layers drawn to scale, objects within the layers are not to scale. Aurorae shown here at the bottom of the thermosphere can actually form at any altitude in this atmospheric layer.
orbiting in the thermosphere. Because of the angle of the photo, it appears to straddle the stratosphere and mesosphere that actually lie more than 250 km below. The orange layer is the troposphere, which gives way to the whitish stratosphere and then the blue mesosphere.
Temperature trends in two thick layers of the atmosphere as measured between January 1979 and December 2005 by microwave sounding units and advanced microwave sounding units on NOAA weather satellites. The instruments record microwaves emitted from oxygen molecules in the atmosphere. Source:
Temperature and mass density against altitude from the NRLMSISE-00 standard atmosphere model (the eight dotted lines in each "decade" are at the eight cubes 8, 27, 64, ..., 729)
Rough plot of Earth's atmospheric transmittance (or opacity) to various wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, including visible light.
Distortive effect of atmospheric refraction upon the shape of the sun at the horizon.
An idealised view of three pairs of large circulation cells.
Oxygen content of the atmosphere over the last billion years

Layer of gases retained by Earth's gravity that surrounds the planet and forms its planetary atmosphere.

- Atmosphere of Earth
NASA photo showing Earth's atmosphere at sunset, with Earth silhouetted

68 related topics with Alpha

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Joseph Priestley is usually given priority in the discovery.

Oxygen

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Chemical element with the symbol O and atomic number 8.

Chemical element with the symbol O and atomic number 8.

Joseph Priestley is usually given priority in the discovery.
Antoine Lavoisier discredited the phlogiston theory.
Robert H. Goddard and a liquid oxygen-gasoline rocket
An experiment setup for preparation of oxygen in academic laboratories
Orbital diagram, after Barrett (2002), showing the participating atomic orbitals from each oxygen atom, the molecular orbitals that result from their overlap, and the aufbau filling of the orbitals with the 12 electrons, 6 from each O atom, beginning from the lowest-energy orbitals, and resulting in covalent double-bond character from filled orbitals (and cancellation of the contributions of the pairs of σ and σ* and π and π* orbital pairs).
Liquid oxygen, temporarily suspended in a magnet owing to its paramagnetism
Space-filling model representation of dioxygen (O2) molecule
Oxygen discharge (spectrum) tube
Late in a massive star's life, 16O concentrates in the O-shell, 17O in the H-shell and 18O in the He-shell.
Cold water holds more dissolved.
500 million years of climate change vs. 18O
Photosynthesis splits water to liberate and fixes into sugar in what is called a Calvin cycle.
build-up in Earth's atmosphere: 1) no produced; 2) produced, but absorbed in oceans & seabed rock; 3)  starts to gas out of the oceans, but is absorbed by land surfaces and formation of ozone layer; 4–5)  sinks filled and the gas accumulates
Hofmann electrolysis apparatus used in electrolysis of water.
Oxygen and MAPP gas compressed-gas cylinders with regulators
An oxygen concentrator in an emphysema patient's house
Low pressure pure is used in space suits.
Most commercially produced is used to smelt and/or decarburize iron.
Water is the most familiar oxygen compound.
Oxides, such as iron oxide or rust, form when oxygen combines with other elements.
Main symptoms of oxygen toxicity
The interior of the Apollo 1 Command Module. Pure at higher than normal pressure and a spark led to a fire and the loss of the Apollo 1 crew.

Diatomic oxygen gas currently constitutes 20.95% of the Earth's atmosphere, though this has changed considerably over long periods of time.

Daniel Rutherford, discoverer of nitrogen

Nitrogen

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Chemical element with the symbol N and atomic number 7.

Chemical element with the symbol N and atomic number 7.

Daniel Rutherford, discoverer of nitrogen
The shapes of the five orbitals occupied in nitrogen. The two colours show the phase or sign of the wave function in each region. From left to right: 1s, 2s (cutaway to show internal structure), 2px, 2py, 2pz.
Table of nuclides (Segrè chart) from carbon to fluorine (including nitrogen). Orange indicates proton emission (nuclides outside the proton drip line); pink for positron emission (inverse beta decay); black for stable nuclides; blue for electron emission (beta decay); and violet for neutron emission (nuclides outside the neutron drip line). Proton number increases going up the vertical axis and neutron number going to the right on the horizontal axis.
Molecular orbital diagram of dinitrogen molecule, N2. There are five bonding orbitals and two antibonding orbitals (marked with an asterisk; orbitals involving the inner 1s electrons not shown), giving a total bond order of three.
Solid nitrogen on the plains of Sputnik Planitia on Pluto next to water ice mountains
Structure of [Ru(NH3)5(N2)]2+ (pentaamine(dinitrogen)ruthenium(II)), the first dinitrogen complex to be discovered
Mesomeric structures of borazine, (–BH–NH–)3
Standard reduction potentials for nitrogen-containing species. Top diagram shows potentials at pH 0; bottom diagram shows potentials at pH 14.
Nitrogen trichloride
Nitrogen dioxide at −196 °C, 0 °C, 23 °C, 35 °C, and 50 °C. converts to colourless dinitrogen tetroxide at low temperatures, and reverts to  at higher temperatures.
Fuming nitric acid contaminated with yellow nitrogen dioxide
Schematic representation of the flow of nitrogen compounds through a land environment
A container vehicle carrying liquid nitrogen.

N2 forms about 78% of Earth's atmosphere, making it the most abundant uncombined element.

A water molecule consists of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom

Water

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Inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the fluids of all known living organisms (in which it acts as a solvent ).

Inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the fluids of all known living organisms (in which it acts as a solvent ).

A water molecule consists of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom
The three common states of matter
Phase diagram of water (simplified)
Tetrahedral structure of water
Model of hydrogen bonds (1) between molecules of water
Water cycle
Overview of photosynthesis (green) and respiration (red)
Water fountain
An environmental science program – a student from Iowa State University sampling water
Total water withdrawals for agricultural, industrial and municipal purposes per capita, measured in cubic metres (m³) per year in 2010
A young girl drinking bottled water
Water availability: the fraction of the population using improved water sources by country
Roadside fresh water outlet from glacier, Nubra
Hazard symbol for non-potable water
Water is used for fighting wildfires.
San Andrés island, Colombia
Water can be used to cook foods such as noodles
Sterile water for injection
Band 5 ALMA receiver is an instrument specifically designed to detect water in the universe.
South polar ice cap of Mars during Martian south summer 2000
An estimate of the proportion of people in developing countries with access to potable water 1970–2000
People come to Inda Abba Hadera spring (Inda Sillasie, Ethiopia) to wash in holy water
Icosahedron as a part of Spinoza monument in Amsterdam.
Water requirement per tonne of food product
Irrigation of field crops
Specific heat capacity of water

The water cycle (known scientifically as the hydrologic cycle) refers to the continuous exchange of water within the hydrosphere, between the atmosphere, soil water, surface water, groundwater, and plants.

The interface between the Earth's surface and outer space. The Kármán line at an altitude of 100 km is shown. The layers of the atmosphere are drawn to scale, whereas objects within them, such as the International Space Station, are not.

Outer space

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The interface between the Earth's surface and outer space. The Kármán line at an altitude of 100 km is shown. The layers of the atmosphere are drawn to scale, whereas objects within them, such as the International Space Station, are not.
This is an artist's concept of the metric expansion of space, where a volume of the Universe is represented at each time interval by the circular sections. At left is depicted the rapid inflation from the initial state, followed thereafter by steadier expansion to the present day, shown at right.
Part of the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field image showing a typical section of space containing galaxies interspersed by deep vacuum. Given the finite speed of light, this view covers the past 13 billion years of the history of outer space.
Because of the hazards of a vacuum, astronauts must wear a pressurized space suit while off-Earth and outside their spacecraft.
Aurora australis observed from the Space Shuttle Discovery, on STS-39, May 1991 (orbital altitude: 260 km)
Lunar Gateway, one of the planned space stations for crewed cislunar travel in the 2020s
The sparse plasma (blue) and dust (white) in the tail of comet Hale–Bopp are being shaped by pressure from solar radiation and the solar wind, respectively
Bow shock formed by the magnetosphere of the young star LL Orionis (center) as it collides with the Orion Nebula flow
Matter distribution in a cubic section of the universe. The blue fiber structures represent the matter and the empty regions in between represent the cosmic voids of the intergalactic medium.
A star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, perhaps the closest Galaxy to Earth's Milky Way
SpaceShipOne completed the first human private spaceflight in 2004, reaching an altitude of 100.12 km.
2008 launch of the SM-3 missile used to destroy American reconnaissance satellite USA-193
The original Magdeburg hemispheres (lower left) used to demonstrate Otto von Guericke's vacuum pump (right)
The first image taken by a human of the whole Earth, probably photographed by William Anders of Apollo 8. South is up; South America is in the middle.
Cislunar space seen from Mars

Outer space, commonly shortened to space, is the expanse that exists beyond Earth and its atmosphere and between celestial bodies.

The greenhouse effect of solar radiation on the Earth's surface caused by emission of greenhouse gases.

Greenhouse gas

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Gas that absorbs and emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range, causing the greenhouse effect.

Gas that absorbs and emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range, causing the greenhouse effect.

The greenhouse effect of solar radiation on the Earth's surface caused by emission of greenhouse gases.
Radiative forcing (warming influence) of different contributors to climate change through 2019, as reported in the Sixth IPCC assessment report.
Atmospheric absorption and scattering at different wavelengths of electromagnetic waves. The largest absorption band of carbon dioxide is not far from the maximum in the thermal emission from ground, and it partly closes the window of transparency of water; hence its major effect.
Concentrations of carbon monoxide in the Spring and Fall of 2000 in the lower atmosphere showing a range from about 390 parts per billion (dark brown pixels), to 220 parts per billion (red pixels), to 50 parts per billion (blue pixels).
Increasing water vapor in the stratosphere at Boulder, Colorado
Schmidt et al. (2010) analysed how individual components of the atmosphere contribute to the total greenhouse effect. They estimated that water vapor accounts for about 50% of Earth's greenhouse effect, with clouds contributing 25%, carbon dioxide 20%, and the minor greenhouse gases and aerosols accounting for the remaining 5%. In the study, the reference model atmosphere is for 1980 conditions. Image credit: NASA.
The radiative forcing (warming influence) of long-lived atmospheric greenhouse gases has accelerated, almost doubling in 40 years.
Top: Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels as measured in the atmosphere and reflected in ice cores. Bottom: The amount of net carbon increase in the atmosphere, compared to carbon emissions from burning fossil fuel.
400,000 years of ice core data
Recent year-to-year increase of atmospheric.
Major greenhouse gas trends.
The US, China and Russia have cumulatively contributed the greatest amounts of since 1850.

The primary greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide , methane , nitrous oxide , and ozone.

Atmospheric Circulation: the Three Cell Model of the circulation of the planetary atmosphere of the Earth, of which the troposphere is the lowest layer.

Troposphere

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Atmospheric Circulation: the Three Cell Model of the circulation of the planetary atmosphere of the Earth, of which the troposphere is the lowest layer.
The atmosphere of the Earth is in five layers: (i) the exosphere at 600+ km; (ii) the thermosphere at 600 km; (iii) the mesosphere at 95–120 km; (iv) the stratosphere at 50–60 km; and (v) the troposphere at 8–15 km. The scale indicates that the layers’ distances from the planetary surface to the edge of the stratosphere is ±50 km, less than 1.0% of the radius of the Earth.
Zonal Flow: a zonal flow regime indicates the dominant west-to-east flow of the atmosphere in the 500 hPa height pattern.
Meridional Flow: The meridional flow pattern of 23 October 2003 shows amplified troughs and ridges in the 500 hPa height pattern.

The troposphere is the first and lowest layer of the atmosphere of the Earth, and contains 75% of the total mass of the planetary atmosphere, 99% of the total mass of water vapour and aerosols, and is where most weather phenomena occur.

Schematic of photosynthesis in plants. The carbohydrates produced are stored in or used by the plant.

Photosynthesis

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Process used by plants and other organisms to convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respiration, can later be released to fuel the organism's activities.

Process used by plants and other organisms to convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respiration, can later be released to fuel the organism's activities.

Schematic of photosynthesis in plants. The carbohydrates produced are stored in or used by the plant.
Composite image showing the global distribution of photosynthesis, including both oceanic phytoplankton and terrestrial vegetation. Dark red and blue-green indicate regions of high photosynthetic activity in the ocean and on land, respectively.
Photosynthesis changes sunlight into chemical energy, splits water to liberate O2, and fixes CO2 into sugar.
Light-dependent reactions of photosynthesis at the thylakoid membrane
The "Z scheme"
Overview of the Calvin cycle and carbon fixation
Overview of C4 carbon fixation
Plant cells with visible chloroplasts (from a moss, Plagiomnium affine)
Portrait of Jan Baptist van Helmont by Mary Beale, c.1674
Melvin Calvin works in his photosynthesis laboratory.
The leaf is the primary site of photosynthesis in plants.
Absorbance spectra of free chlorophyll a ( blue ) and b ( red ) in a solvent. The action spectra of chlorophyll molecules are slightly modified in vivo depending on specific pigment–protein interactions.
Photorespiration

In the light-independent (or "dark") reactions, the enzyme RuBisCO captures CO2 from the atmosphere and, in a process called the Calvin cycle, uses the newly formed NADPH and releases three-carbon sugars, which are later combined to form sucrose and starch.

The planet Mars has an atmosphere composed of thin layers of gases.

Atmosphere

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Layer of gas or layers of gases that envelope a planet, and is held in place by the gravity of the planetary body.

Layer of gas or layers of gases that envelope a planet, and is held in place by the gravity of the planetary body.

The planet Mars has an atmosphere composed of thin layers of gases.
The atmospheric gases around Earth scatter blue light (shorter wavelengths) more than light toward the red end (longer wavelengths) of the visible spectrum; thus, a blue glow over the horizon is seen when observing Earth from outer space.
A diagram of the layers of Earth's atmosphere
Graphs of escape velocity against surface temperature of some Solar System objects showing which gases are retained. The objects are drawn to scale, and their data points are at the black dots in the middle.

The atmosphere of Earth is composed of nitrogen (78%), oxygen (21%), argon (0.9%), carbon dioxide (0.04%) and trace gases.

Drifting smoke particles indicate the movement of the surrounding gas.

Gas

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One of the four fundamental states of matter .

One of the four fundamental states of matter .

Drifting smoke particles indicate the movement of the surrounding gas.
Shuttle imagery of re-entry phase
184x184px
Random motion of gas particles results in diffusion.
21 April 1990 eruption of Mount Redoubt, Alaska, illustrating real gases not in thermodynamic equilibrium.
Boyle's equipment
Dalton's notation.
Compressibility factors for air.
Satellite view of weather pattern in vicinity of Robinson Crusoe Islands on 15 September 1999, shows a turbulent cloud pattern called a Kármán vortex street
Delta wing in wind tunnel. The shadows form as the indices of refraction change within the gas as it compresses on the leading edge of this wing.

A gas mixture, such as air, contains a variety of pure gases.

A small piece of rapidly melting solid argon

Argon

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Chemical element with the symbol Ar and atomic number 18.

Chemical element with the symbol Ar and atomic number 18.

A small piece of rapidly melting solid argon
A: test-tube, B: dilute alkali, C: U-shaped glass tube, D: platinum electrode
Captioned "Argon", caricature of Lord Rayleigh in Vanity Fair, 1899
Space-filling model of argon fluorohydride
Cylinders containing argon gas for use in extinguishing fire without damaging server equipment
A sample of caesium is packed under argon to avoid reactions with air
Gloveboxes are often filled with argon, which recirculates over scrubbers to maintain an oxygen-, nitrogen-, and moisture-free atmosphere
Argon gas-discharge lamp forming the symbol for argon "Ar"

Argon is the third-most abundant gas in the Earth's atmosphere, at 0.934% (9340 ppmv).