Monday, August 11, 2008

More About The Atmosphere

Up to this point our blog weather lessons have covered the atmosphere in the vertical. We talked about the 4 sections -- troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere and the thermosphere.

It can also be divided into two sectons based on composition.

The homosphere is from the ground to the lower part of the thermosphere. This lower, well-mixed region of our atmosphere. It is mostly 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen.

Above that is the heterosphere, where gases seperate. Oxygen and nitrogen tend to settle at the bottom while other lighter weight gases float to the top, such as hydrogen and helium.

You may have heard a term called the ionosphere at some point in your life while taking a science class.

This is not really a layer -- it's just an electrified region within the upper atmosphere where large concentrations of ions and free electrons exist.

The ionosphere plays an important role in radio communications.

OK that's it for the atmosphere -- it is time to get into weather and climate!!!

We'll do that tomorrow!

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