Why does the temperature of the atmosphere vary?
The atmosphere is made up of parts called regions. The lowest region is called the troposphere. This is the region that we live and breathe in. In the troposphere, the temperature goes down as you move away from the surface of the Earth.
The next region, called the stratosphere, increases as you move higher! The section in between the troposphere and stratosphere is called the tropopause. The temperature doesn't change in this area.
The stratopause is just above the stratosphere, and next is the mesosphere. The mesosphere is like the troposphere, the temperature gets colder as you move up. Finally, there is the mesopause and then the thermosphere. The thermosphere is like the stratosphere, it get hotter as you move up!
So you see, the temperature changes a lot as you move higher. This is why there can be snow on top of a mountain even in the summer. Because at the top of the mountain it is still very cold!
Submitted by Kenneth Loose (Medicine Hat, AB Canada)
(January 6, 2000)
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Learn about Earth and space science, and have fun while doing it! The games
section of our online store
includes a climate change card game
and the Traveling Nitrogen game
You might also be interested in:
How did life evolve on Earth? The answer to this question can help us understand our past and prepare for our future. Although evolution provides credible and reliable answers, polls show that many people turn away from science, seeking other explanations with which they are more comfortable....more
The troposphere is the lowest layer of Earth's atmosphere. The troposphere starts at ground level. The top of the troposphere is about 11 km up (that's 7 miles or 36,000 feet). The layer above the troposphere...more
The stratosphere is the second layer of the atmosphere. The temperature in the stratosphere goes up the higher you go up. Ozone causes the temperature to go up. It absorbs dangerous light from the Sun...more
The mesosphere is the third layer in the atmosphere. The temperature drops when you go higher, like it does in the troposphere. It can get down to -90°C in the mesosphere. That's the coldest part of the...more
What is the diameter of the Moon in Kilometers? By how much is the Earth heavier than the Moon? How far is the Moon from the Earth? How old is the Moon? What is the internal structure of the Moon? I was...more
*Please note that this page is a student project written by Nicole Turner. It was not written or edited by Windows to the Universe scientists.* From Harriet Quimby (the first licensed woman pilot,) to...more
Here they are! Submitted by Ardith and Ashley (January 26, 1999) ...more
Wind does not have an effect on radio waves. Wind cannot affect radio waves because the air particles associated with wind are far too small for the radio wave to bounce off of. Radio waves can only bounce...more