Basic WX Training #1 – Levels of the Atmosphere

Basic WX Training #1 – Levels of the Atmosphere

Definitions

The atmosphere is a fluid body which extends from the Earth's surface to a variable height of about 600 miles and consists of several layers of gasses, water, and aerosols.

Levels (lowest –> highest)

Troposphere

  • Extends from the surface to 8-14.5 km (5-9 mi)
  • About 90% of the atmosphere's mass is contained in this level
  • Contains nearly all water-based weather

-Tropopause-

Stratosphere

  • Extends to about 50 km (≈30 mi)
  • Contains the ozone layer

-Stratopause-

Mesosphere

  • Extends to about 85 km (53 mi)
  • Meteors are burnt in this layer

-Mesopause-

Thermosphere

  • Extends to about 600 km (372 mi)
  • Aurora borealis occurs in this layer
  • Satellites in Low Earth Orbit are positioned in this layer

-Thermopause-

Exosphere

  • No set boundaries are defined, but this layer extends (albeit "faintly") out to about 10,000 km (6,200 mi)

References / Sources

Rauber, Robert M., et al. Severe and Hazardous Weather: An introduction to high impact meteorology. 5th ed., Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, 2017.

Zell, Holly. “Earth's Atmospheric Layers.” NASA, NASA, 2 Mar. 2015, www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/science/atmosphere-layers2.html.

Show Comments