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Clouded Atmosphere Essay Research Paper Clouded AtmosphereThe

Clouded Atmosphere Essay, Research Paper

The concentration of the atmosphere’s main greenhouse gases specifically, carbon

dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and water vapor, have increased significantly during the

industrial age. These high concentrations are predicted to continue in the atmosphere for

thousands of years to come. This increase in specially carbon dioxide, increases the

infrared energy taken in by the atmosphere, and warming the earth’s surface. The Global

mean temperature over the past 150 years has risen between 0.3 degrees C and 0.6

degrees C. Climate changes that have been predicted are based on the continual rise in

Green House Gases. These changes include changes in: increase in mean surface air

temperature, increase in global mean rates of precipitation and evaporation, rising sea

level, and changes in the biosphere.

There are many causes to the rise in Green House Gases in the atmosphere. The

rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is largely related to the combustion of fossil fuels

and cement production (Hansen). The increase in methane is do to rice cultivation, animal

husbandry, biomass burning, and landfills (Kattenberg). Nitrous oxide is on the rise

because of industrial sources like adipic acid and nitric acid production (Kattenberg).

Other gases not mentioned above that have a small impact on the Green House Gas

proposed problem, is CFC-11 and CFC-12, these Gases are know to the public as being a

big source of warming, although catalyzing decomposition of stratospheric ozone, they

do not pose a great threat. Since the public was notified of these compounds in

refrigerants, spray propellants, and foam blowing; the atmospheric concentrations have

decreased greatly (Prather).

The danger that all these Green House Gases put to the atmosphere is the increase

in the infrared energy absorbed by the atmosphere. This extra energy absorbed although

thought to only warm the earth also has a cooling tendency on the stratosphere (Peixoto

and Oort). The affect the radiation has by this increase of Green House Gases

concentration is also known as “Infrared Flux” at the tropopause (Wang). The models

used to predict this information can also closely mimic the other layers of the atmosphere

as well as the surface. Worldwide temperature measurements are carefully taken with

many variables in mind. Such variables would be urbanization of a region, aerosols,

precipitation, and changes in temperature and clouds (Hansen). Usually the temperature is

the first variable that is considered when assessments of the world climate change are

taken, it is also very important to consider other data that is part of the climate system

along the line of time and space. Some other sources of information are: tree rings, bore

hole temperature measurements in the soil, permafrost, and ice sheets, and measurements

of the mass of valley glaciers and ice caps. By looking at this material for the past 600

years it has been determined that the warming in the twentieth century is greater over this

time period (Briffa).

From paleoclimate studies it has been concluded that the Earth’s climate has been

altered by more than just Green House Gases, but Inorder to find the effects of the Green

House Gases specifically, a study of records from the periods when the changes in the

atmospheric carbon dioxide were much larger than those of our century. Large natural

variation in the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide were found in the observation and analysis of

gas bubbles trapped in glacier ice cores, are correlated with glacial (ice age) and

interglacial climate change of the latest Pleistocene and Holocene epochs. These glacial

periods are associated with low carbon dioxide concentrations, and the interglacial periods

with high concentrations. When looking at methane concentrations within these cores,

there was a similar correlation (Chappellaz).

Some of the predicted changes to the Earth’s climate due to this continual rise in

Green House Gases are: increase in mean surface air temperature, increase in global mean

rates of precipitation and evaporation, rising of sea levels. An increase in the surface air

temperature would cause rates of evaporation to increase, causing the water vapor in the

air to rise. The positive feedback to the surface temperature increase is that is will lead to

a more intense hydrological cycle, with more precipitation events (Kattenberg). Another

possible consequence of greenhouse gas induced climate change is elevated sea levels.

The main cause for sea level fluctuation is due to thermal expansion and the melting of

glaciers, both are responses to higher air temperatures. Measurements taken from 93′ to

98′ indicate a melt rate from Greenland’s ice sheet of 1 meter a year (Krabill). There have

been measurements of the sea levels also, they indicate a rise of about 10 – 25 cm a year

All of these predictions were made by constructing models that help scientist

predict the climate change if the Green House Gases continue to rise at a steady rate.

Although scientist are fairly confident in these models there is room for error in these

models. Despite the gains there are a number of features of the climate system that are

still crudely represented in climate models. The models are restricted in their ability to

accurately represent terrain effects and to simulate processes that occur on a smaller scale.

Other shortcomings in the climate models is their inability to actually portray the effects of

aerosols, precipitation, and clouds and changes in solar irradiance. For these and other

reasons there remains scientific uncertainties in model predictions, including uncertainties

in the predictions of local effects of climate change, occurrence of extreme weather

events, effects of aerosols, changes in clouds, shifts in precipitation, and even changes in

ocean circulation (Hansen).

Aerosols are a big concern for model analysts, because aerosols are a principle

source of uncertainty in modeling climate changes during the industrial period. Aerosols

scatter and absorb short wave (solar) radiation and modify the reflectivity of clouds. Both

effects are thought to decrease the abortion of short wave radiation by the Earth, cooling

the climate, even though the troposphere aerosols only last a day in the atmosphere

Green House Gases are related to the warming of the Earth, but the future of the

climate is not yet know, or predicted. So many variables make up the atmosphere and it’s

climate, no model can accurately predict the future. Natural Earth warmers like water

vapor and clouds also contribute to the warming trend. The Earth’s records of ice ages

and tree rings can only paint a very small piece of this huge picture. scientist are at a

disadvantage because they are not able to see the Earth’s full past, as an instructor of mine

once said- they cannot predict the future of climate patterns when they have only been

studding the atmosphere for the last 100 years.

Briffa, K. R. “Influence of volcanic eruptions on Northern Hemisphere summer

temperature over past 600 years.” Nature, 393, 1998.

Chappellaz, J. “Ice- core record of atmospheric methane over the past 160,000 years.”

Nature, 345, 1990.

Charlson, R. J. “Climate forcing by anthropogenic aerosols.” Science 255, 1992.

Douglas B. C. Global sea level rise, J. geophys. Res. 96 (C4), 6981-6992, 1991.

Hansen, J. E. (1998). Climate forcings in the industrial era. Livermore: Willams Press.

Kattenberg, A. (1996). Climate Change 1995: The Science of Climate Change.Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press.

Krabill. W. “Rapid thinning of parts of the southern Greenland ice sheet.” Science 283,

Peixoto, J. P. and A. H. Oort (1992). Physics of Climate. New York: American Institute

Prather, M. P. “The ozone layer: The road not taken.” Nature 381, 1996.

Wang, W. C. “Inadequacy of affective CO2 as a proxy in simulating the greenhouse effect

of other radiatively active gases.” Nature 350, 1991.

Other articles

Layers of the Atmosphere - Essays

Layers of the Atmosphere Layers of the Atmosphere

Discuss The Layers And Composition Of The Atmosphere And The Effect Each Has On Climate?
The Earth's atmosphere contains several different layers that can be defined according to air temperature. According to temperature, the atmosphere contains four different layers. The first layer is called the troposphere. The depth of this layer varies from about 8 to 16 kilometers. Greatest depths occur at the tropics where warm temperatures causes vertical expansion of the lower atmosphere. From the tropics to the Earth's polar regions the troposphere becomes gradually thinner. The depth of this layer at the poles is roughly half as thick when compared to the tropics. Average depth of the troposphere is approximately 11 kilometers.
About 80 % of the total mass of the atmosphere is contained in troposphere. It is also the layer where the majority of our weather occurs. Maximum air temperature also occurs near the Earth's surface in this layer. With increasing height, air temperature drops uniformly with altitude at a rate of approximately 6.5° Celsius per 1000 meters. This phenomenon is commonly called the Environmental Lapse Rate. At an average temperature of -56.5° Celsius, the top of the troposphere is reached. At the upper edge of the troposphere is a narrow transition zone known as the tropopause.
The Greenhouse Effect: Heat from the Sun warms the Earth's surface but most of it is radiated and sent back into space. Water vapour and carbon dioxide in the troposphere trap some of this heat, preventing it from escaping thus keep the Earth warm. This trapping of heat is called the "greenhouse effect". However, if there is too much carbon dioxide in the troposphere then it will trap too much heat. Scientists are afraid that the increasing amounts of carbon dioxide would raise the Earth's surface temperature, bringing significant changes to worldwide weather patterns. shifting in climatic zones and the melting of the polar ice caps, which could raise the level of the.

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Реферат - Clouded Atmosphere Essay Research Paper Clouded AtmosphereThe - Иностранный язык

Clouded Atmosphere Essay, Research Paper

The concentration of the atmosphere’s main greenhouse gases specifically, carbon

dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and water vapor, have increased significantly during the

industrial age. These high concentrations are predicted to continue in the atmosphere for

thousands of years to come. This increase in specially carbon dioxide, increases the

infrared energy taken in by the atmosphere, and warming the earth’s surface. The Global

mean temperature over the past 150 years has risen between 0.3 degrees C and 0.6

degrees C. Climate changes that have been predicted are based on the continual rise in

Green House Gases. These changes include changes in: increase in mean surface air

temperature, increase in global mean rates of precipitation and evaporation, rising sea

level, and changes in the biosphere.

There are many causes to the rise in Green House Gases in the atmosphere. The

rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is largely related to the combustion of fossil fuels

and cement production (Hansen). The increase in methane is do to rice cultivation, animal

husbandry, biomass burning, and landfills (Kattenberg). Nitrous oxide is on the rise

because of industrial sources like adipic acid and nitric acid production (Kattenberg).

Other gases not mentioned above that have a small impact on the Green House Gas

proposed problem, is CFC-11 and CFC-12, these Gases are know to the public as being a

big source of warming, although catalyzing decomposition of stratospheric ozone, they

do not pose a great threat. Since the public was notified of these compounds in

refrigerants, spray propellants, and foam blowing; the atmospheric concentrations have

decreased greatly (Prather).

The danger that all these Green House Gases put to the atmosphere is the increase

in the infrared energy absorbed by the atmosphere. This extra energy absorbed although

thought to only warm the earth also has a cooling tendency on the stratosphere (Peixoto

and Oort). The affect the radiation has by this increase of Green House Gases

concentration is also known as “Infrared Flux” at the tropopause (Wang). The models

used to predict this information can also closely mimic the other layers of the atmosphere

as well as the surface. Worldwide temperature measurements are carefully taken with

many variables in mind. Such variables would be urbanization of a region, aerosols,

precipitation, and changes in temperature and clouds (Hansen). Usually the temperature is

the first variable that is considered when assessments of the world climate change are

taken, it is also very important to consider other data that is part of the climate system

along the line of time and space. Some other sources of information are: tree rings, bore

hole temperature measurements in the soil, permafrost, and ice sheets, and measurements

of the mass of valley glaciers and ice caps. By looking at this material for the past 600

years it has been determined that the warming in the twentieth century is greater over this

time period (Briffa).

From paleoclimate studies it has been concluded that the Earth’s climate has been

altered by more than just Green House Gases, but Inorder to find the effects of the Green

House Gases specifically, a study of records from the periods when the changes in the

atmospheric carbon dioxide were much larger than those of our century. Large natural

variation in the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide were found in the observation and analysis of

gas bubbles trapped in glacier ice cores, are correlated with glacial (ice age) and

interglacial climate change of the latest Pleistocene and Holocene epochs. These glacial

periods are associated with low carbon dioxide concentrations, and the interglacial periods

with high concentrations. When looking at methane concentrations within these cores,

there was a similar correlation (Chappellaz).

Some of the predicted changes to the Earth’s climate due to this continual rise in

Green House Gases are: increase in mean surface air temperature, increase in global mean

rates of precipitation and evaporation, rising of sea levels. An increase in the surface air

temperature would cause rates of evaporation to increase, causing the water vapor in the

air to rise. The positive feedback to the surface temperature increase is that is will lead to

a more intense hydrological cycle, with more precipitation events (Kattenberg). Another

possible consequence of greenhouse gas induced climate change is elevated sea levels.

The main cause for sea level fluctuation is due to thermal expansion and the melting of

glaciers, both are responses to higher air temperatures. Measurements taken from 93′ to

98′ indicate a melt rate from Greenland’s ice sheet of 1 meter a year (Krabill). There have

been measurements of the sea levels also, they indicate a rise of about 10 – 25 cm a year

All of these predictions were made by constructing models that help scientist

predict the climate change if the Green House Gases continue to rise at a steady rate.

Although scientist are fairly confident in these models there is room for error in these

models. Despite the gains there are a number of features of the climate system that are

still crudely represented in climate models. The models are restricted in their ability to

accurately represent terrain effects and to simulate processes that occur on a smaller scale.

Other shortcomings in the climate models is their inability to actually portray the effects of

aerosols, precipitation, and clouds and changes in solar irradiance. For these and other

reasons there remains scientific uncertainties in model predictions, including uncertainties

in the predictions of local effects of climate change, occurrence of extreme weather

events, effects of aerosols, changes in clouds, shifts in precipitation, and even changes in

ocean circulation (Hansen).

Aerosols are a big concern for model analysts, because aerosols are a principle

source of uncertainty in modeling climate changes during the industrial period. Aerosols

scatter and absorb short wave (solar) radiation and modify the reflectivity of clouds. Both

effects are thought to decrease the abortion of short wave radiation by the Earth, cooling

the climate, even though the troposphere aerosols only last a day in the atmosphere

Green House Gases are related to the warming of the Earth, but the future of the

climate is not yet know, or predicted. So many variables make up the atmosphere and it’s

climate, no model can accurately predict the future. Natural Earth warmers like water

vapor and clouds also contribute to the warming trend. The Earth’s records of ice ages

and tree rings can only paint a very small piece of this huge picture. scientist are at a

disadvantage because they are not able to see the Earth’s full past, as an instructor of mine

once said- they cannot predict the future of climate patterns when they have only been

studding the atmosphere for the last 100 years.

Briffa, K. R. “Influence of volcanic eruptions on Northern Hemisphere summer

temperature over past 600 years.” Nature, 393, 1998.

Chappellaz, J. “Ice- core record of atmospheric methane over the past 160,000 years.”

Nature, 345, 1990.

Charlson, R. J. “Climate forcing by anthropogenic aerosols.” Science 255, 1992.

Douglas B. C. Global sea level rise, J. geophys. Res. 96 (C4), 6981-6992, 1991.

Hansen, J. E. (1998). Climate forcings in the industrial era. Livermore: Willams Press.

Kattenberg, A. (1996). Climate Change 1995: The Science of Climate Change.Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press.

Krabill. W. “Rapid thinning of parts of the southern Greenland ice sheet.” Science 283,

Peixoto, J. P. and A. H. Oort (1992). Physics of Climate. New York: American Institute

Prather, M. P. “The ozone layer: The road not taken.” Nature 381, 1996.

Wang, W. C. “Inadequacy of affective CO2 as a proxy in simulating the greenhouse effect

of other radiatively active gases.” Nature 350, 1991.

Essay for Geography Students on Atmosphere

Essay for Geography Students on Atmosphere

It is the envelope of air which surrounds the earth. This envelope of air extends upto a considerable height from the surface of the earth. Since the atmosphere is not of the same density throughout and that at­mospheric pressure decreases with height, it is a bit difficult to mark the outer limit of the atmosphere.

There is, however, definite evidence that the atmosphere extends beyond 160 km. Although almost all of the at­mosphere (about 97%) lies within 30 km of the earth's surface the upper limit of the atmosphere can be drawn approximately, at a height of 10,000 Km.

The atmosphere is held to the earth by the gravitational pull of the latter. The atmosphere is densest at sea level and thins rapidly up­wards. It constitutes a very insignificant percentage of the mass of the earth.

Composition of Atmosphere

From the earth's surface upwards to an altitude of about 80 km, the chemical composition of the atmosphere is highly uniform throughout in terms of the proportions of its component gases. In the uppermost reaches the atmosphere is charged with subatomic particles.

Thus, except for the water vapour present, the composition of the atmosphere near the surface of the earth is practically uniform throughout the globe. Pure, dry air has very nearly the following constitution:

Structure of the Atmosphere

The structure of the atmosphere is highly complex but its layering is now well understood. The atmosphere has been divided into several layers according to temperatures and zones of temperature change. Attitudinally arranged the atmosphere falls into five layers or divisions such as:

It is the lower most layer of the atmosphere. On an average, it extends up to a height of 12 km from the surface of the earth. At the equator, the thickness of the troposphere is the greatest i.e. about 18 km and about 8 kms thick over the poles.

The troposphere contains about three-fourths of the total mass of the atmosphere, thus it is the densest of all layers. It is the locale of all the vita] atmospheric processes which create the climatic and weather conditions on the earth's surface. The troposphere is characterized by:

(i) varying moisture content,

(ii) mobility of the air masses, both vertical and horizontal, and

(iii) regular temperature decline with height. The temperature of air in the troposphere decreases at the rate of 1°C per 165 meters of height.

It is an undefined region lying between troposphere and stratosphere. Here the temperature remains constant. The height of tropopause varies with latitude.

It is the atmospheric zone extending from the upper boundary of the troposphere, to a height around 55 kms. In contrast to the troposphere, a steady rise in temperature with height is observed here. Here air is at rest.

It is an isothermal region and is free of clouds, dust and water vapour. The upper strata is rich in ozone. The ozone layer serves as a shield, protecting the troposphere and earth's surface by absorbing most of the ultra-violet radiation found in the sun's rays, thus, is of great importance for the existence of life on the earth's surface.

Since the water vapour content of the stratosphere is negligible, weather creating processes are never generated here. In the upper layers of the stratosphere the temperature rises to 0°C and higher. A stabilization of temperature occurs at a height of around 55 kms and is called the STRATOPAUSE. Above it a fall in temperature is recorded.

Above the stratopause lies the mesosphere, which is a very cold region. This layer extends upward to about 80 kms from the surface of the earth. Within the mesosphere, at a height of about 60 kms, there occurs a layer called radio-waves absorbing layer.

At the end of the mesosphere, there is a transitional layer of minimum temperature of -80°C. An important feature of the mesosphere is its higher temperature in winter compared with summer, which is apparently due to a small ozone content.

The ionosphere extends from an altitude of about 80 km upward. Stud­ies have shown that the ionosphere extends up to a height of 1000-2000 km from the earth's surface. The part of the ionosphere lying between 80- 800 km is called thermosphere, which is characterized by a steady rise in temperature.

In the ionosphere, almost all the atoms are ionized i.e this zone is made up primarily of ions (charged atoms). The ionosphere is much rare­fied and therefore has a very low total mass despite a huge volume. This layer protects us from falling meteorites as it burns most of them. Besides, it reflects the radio-waves making wireless communication between places possible.

Above the ionosphere lies the exosphere. It is the outermost zone of the atmosphere. It is also known as the diffusion zone, where the atmos­pheric gases diffuse into the open space.

It is prevented, in part, however, by the earth's magnetic field, which retains the ionized particles within the magnetosphere. Much about the exosphere is yet to be known.

Layers of the Atmosphere for Kids

Layers of the Atmosphere for Kids

The atmosphere of the earth is made up of a mixture of gases. This pool of gases behaves like a ‘filter’ and saves us from harmful radiation of the sun. In a group, these atmospheric gases behave as one unit which we label it as air. Since gravitational force of the earth attracts everything downward, the atmosphere carries its own weight as a result of this pull of gravity. Molecules in the air move randomly in all directions and this motion exerts pressure on all objects that come into contact with it. This pressure is known as atmospheric pressure. Near the earth’s surface, molecules of air are packed together and so the spaces between them are reduced, becoming denser. At the same time, the density of air decreases with the increase in altitude which is why a person feels difficulty in respiration as soon as he goes up.

Our atmosphere is divided into a number of layers based on chemical composition, temperature and function. Let’s discuss each of them.

Almost 99 percent of the weight of atmosphere lies within an altitude of about 30 km (20 miles).

Layers of the Atmosphere in relation to Chemical Composition

The atmosphere is divided into two regions i.e.,

  1. It is the outer region of the atmosphere.
  2. Starting from exosphere (also known as outer sphere), it comes down to about 80 km (50 miles) above the earth’s surface. An exosphere is almost a vacuum.
  3. This layer holds less than 0.001% of the entire mass of atmosphere.
  4. The upper part of this layer is within the orbit of International Space Station (ISS). Majority of the Space Shuttles also revolve inside heterosphere.
  5. The mixture of gases is unevenly distributed in the heterosphere.
  6. The upper heterosphere contains lightest elements like hydrogen and helium. Likewise, the lower part has heavier elements like nitrogen and oxygen.
  1. It lies beneath the heterosphere.
  2. It extends from 80 km (50 miles) downwards up to the surface of the earth.
  3. The mixture of gases is almost uniformly distributed in the homosphere.
  4. The density of gases varies quickly inside this layer.

Gases in the Homosphere (% age by volume)

Nitrogen (N2 ) | 78 %

Carbon Dioxide (CO2 ) | 0.04%

Layers of the Atmosphere in relation to Temperature

The earth’s atmosphere is in the form of layers and each layer has distinctive temperature properties. Starting from lowest to highest altitude, these layers are:

  1. Troposphere
  2. Stratosphere
  3. Mesosphere
  4. Thermosphere

  1. It is the lowermost layer of the earth.
  2. The boundary of troposphere varies. At the equator, this layer extends up to 18 km as a result of high temperature whereas at the poles, it ends at about 8 km (5 miles) above the surface of the earth.
  3. It is the principal layer where all life (layer of biosphere) exists.
  4. About 90 percent of the mass of atmosphere lie in this region.
  5. Almost all the water vapors and clouds exist here.
  6. It is this layer of the atmosphere where weather exists.
  7. The temperature of air and density of oxygen molecules decreases with the increase in altitude within troposphere.
  8. The uppermost limit of troposphere is called tropopause (the suffix ‘pause’ meaning ‘to change’). Here the temperature is about -57 o C (-70 o F)

  1. This layer starts from 18 km above the earth’s surface and goes up to 50 km (11 to 31 miles).
  2. The uppermost boundary of stratosphere is called stratopause. Here the temperature is about 0 o C (32 o F).
  1. This layer starts from 50 km and ends at 80 km (30 to 50 miles).
  2. It lies inside the homosphere.
  3. The outermost boundary of mesosphere is known as mesopause.
  4. Mesopause is the most freezing region of atmosphere. The temperature here is about -90 o C (-130 o F).

  1. This layer is also known as heat sphere.
  2. The outermost boundary of thermosphere is called thermopause.
  3. The temperature of this layer is very high, extending up to about 1200 o C (2200 o F).
  4. In reality, thermosphere is not that hot as it appears.

Layers of the Atmosphere in relation to Function

  1. Ionosphere
  2. Ozonosphere (ozone layer)
  1. It is the outer layer.
  2. It is present all over thermosphere layer and also goes toward the layer beneath it i.e. mesosphere.
  3. It receives and absorbs quite a number of rays from the sun. The names of these rays are:

– Ultra violet radiation (shorter wavelengths)

– Gamma rays

– Cosmic rays

This layer absorbs these rays and then changes the atoms to the ions that are charged positively.

  1. It is part of stratosphere layer.
  2. This layer has high level of ozone. Ozone consists of three atoms of oxygen (O3 ) and absorbs ultraviolet rays. The ultraviolet radiation is very harmful for living organisms and ozone protects life on earth by absorbing these rays.