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The Earth Atmosphere

 Layers of atmosphere
 Gaia hypothesis
 Extent of Earth's
Earth's atmosphere can be divided
into five main layers. These layers
are mainly determined by whether
temperature increases or decrease
with altitude.
From lowest to highest, these
layers are:
 The troposphere begins at the surface and
extends to between 7 km (23,000 ft) at the
poles and 17 km (56,000 ft) at the equator,
with some variation due to weather.
Transfer of energy from the surface mostly
heats the troposphere, so on average the
lowest part of the troposphere is warmest
and temperature decreases with altitude.
This promotes vertical mixing. The
troposphere contains roughly 80% of the
mass of the atmosphere. The tropopause is
the boundary between the troposphere and

 The stratosphere extends from the

tropopause to about 51 km. Temperature
increases with height, which restricts
turbulence and mixing. The stratopause,
which is the boundary between the
stratosphere and mesosphere, typically is at
50 to 55 km. The pressure here is 1/1000th
sea level.
 Mesosphere

 The mesosphere extends from the

stratopause to 80–85 km. Where most
meteors burn up upon entering the
atmosphere the layer. Temperature
decreases with height in the mesosphere.
The mesopause, the temperature minimum
that marks the top of the mesosphere, is the
coldest place on Earth and has an average
temperature around−100 °C.
 Temperature increases with height in the
thermosphere from the mesopause up to the
thermopause, and then is constant with
height. The temperature of this layer can
rise to1,500 °C, though the gas molecules
are so far apart that temperature in the
usual sense is not well defined. The
International Space Station orbits in this
layer, between 320-and380 km. The top of
the thermosphere is the bottom of the
exosphere, called the exobase. Its height
varies with solar activity and ranges from
about 350–800 km.
 The outermost layer of Earth's atmosphere
extends from the top of the thermosphere.
Here the particles are so far apart that they
can travel hundreds of km without colliding
with one another. Since the particles rarely
collide, the atmosphere no longer behaves
like a fluid. The exosphere is mainly
composed of hydrogen and helium. Other
layers Within the five principal layers
determined by temperature are several
layers determined by other properties.
 The ozone layer is contained within the
stratosphere. In this layer ozone
concentrations are about 2 to 8 parts per
million, which is much higher than in the
lower atmosphere but still very small
compared to the main components of the
atmosphere. It is mainly located in the lower
portion of the stratosphere from about 15–
35 km, though the thickness varies
seasonally and geographically. About 90%
of the ozone in our atmosphere is contained
in the stratosphere.
 The ionosphere, the part of the atmosphere
that is ionized by solar radiation, stretches
from 50 to 1,000 km and typically overlaps
both the exosphere and the thermosphere. It
forms the inner edge of the magnetosphere.
It has practical importance because it
influences, for example, radio propagation
on the Earth. It is responsible for auroras.
The lithosphere (from the Greek lithos for "rocky"
+ sphaira for "sphere")
is the rigid outer most shell of a rocky planet, earth.
 In the Earth, the lithosphere includes the crust
and the uppermost mantle, which constitute the
hard and rigid outer layer of the planet. The
lithosphere is underlain by the asthenosphere, the
weaker, hotter, and deeper part of the upper
mantle. The boundary between the lithosphere
and the underlying asthenosphere is defined by a
difference in response to stress: the lithosphere
remains rigid for very long periods of geologic time
in which it deforms elastically and through brittle
failure, while the asthenosphere deforms viscously
and accommodates strain through plastic
The lithosphere is broken into tectonic
There are two types of lithosphere:
Oceanic lithosphere, which is associated with
Oceanic crust and exists in the ocean basins
Continental lithosphere, which is associated with
Continental crust
Oceanic lithosphere is typically about
50-100 km thick (but beneath the mid-ocean
ridges is no thicker than the crust), while
continental lithosphere has a range in
thickness from about 40 km to perhaps
200 km; the upper ~30 to ~50 km of typical
continental lithosphere is crust.
Oceanic lithosphere is denser than
continental lithosphere; Oceanic lithosphere
thickens as it ages and moves away from the
mid-ocean ridge. This thickening occurs by
conductive cooling, which converts hot
asthenosphere into lithospheric mantle, and
causes the oceanic lithosphere to become
increasingly thick and dense with age. New
oceanic lithosphere is constantly being
produced at mid-ocean ridges and is
recycled back to the mantle at subduction
As a result, oceanic lithosphere is much
younger than continental lithosphere: the
oldest oceanic lithosphere is about 170
million years old, while parts of the
continental lithosphere are billions of years
old. The oldest parts of continental
lithosphere underlie cratons, and the mantle
lithosphere there is thicker and less dense
than typical; the relatively low density of
such mantle "roots of cratons" helps to
stabilize these regions.
The hydrosphere is the liquid water
component of the Earth. It includes the
oceans, seas, lakes, ponds, rivers and
A hydrosphere (from Greek hydro, 'water' +
sphaira, 'sphere') in physical geography
describes the combined mass of water found
on, under, and over the surface of a planet.
The total mass of the Earth's hydrosphere is
about 1.4 × 1024 grams, which is about
0.023% of the Earth's total mass. About 2 ×
1019 grams of this is in the Earth's
atmosphere. Approximately71% of the
Earth's surface, is covered by ocean.
Hydrological cycle
 The sun provides the energy necessary to
cause evaporation from all wet surfaces
including oceans rivers lakes soil and the
leaves of plants. Water vapors are further
released as transpiration from vegetation
and from animals and humans
 The movement of water around, over, and
through the Earth is called the water cycle,
a key process of the hydrosphere
Geologist Eduard Suess coined the term
“biosphere” in 1875, which he defined as:
The place on earth's surface where life dwells.
The biosphere is the global sum of all the world's
ecosystems. It can also be called the zone of life on
Earth. From the broadest point of view,
the biosphere is the global ecological system
integrating all living beings and their relationships,
including their interaction with the elements of the
lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere.
The biosphere is postulated to have evolved,
beginning through a process of biogenesis at
least some 3.5 billion years ago.
Gaia hypothesis
 The concept that the biosphere is itself a
living organism is known as the Gaia
 James Lovelock, an atmospheric scientist
from the United Kingdom, proposed the
Gaia hypothesis to explain how biotic and
abiotic factors interact in the biosphere.
This hypothesis considers Earth itself a kind
of living organism. Its atmosphere,
geosphere, and hydrosphere are
cooperating systems that yield a biosphere
full of life.
 For example, when carbon dioxide levels
increase in the atmosphere, plants grow
more quickly. As their growth continues,
they remove more and more carbon dioxide
from the atmosphere.
 Many scientists are now involved in new
fields of study that examine interactions
between biotic and a biotic factors in the
biosphere, such as geobiology and
geomicrobiology. Ecosystems occur when
communities and their physical
environment work together as a system. The
difference between this and a biosphere is
simple, the biosphere is everything in
general terms.
 Nearly every part of the planet, from the
polar ice caps to the Equator, supports life
of some kind. Recent advances in
microbiology have demonstrated that
microbes live deep beneath the Earth’s
terrestrial surface, and that the total mass
of microbial life in so-called "uninhabitable
zones” may, in biomass, exceed all animal
and plant life on the surface. The actual
thickness of the biosphere on earth is
difficult to measure. Birds typically fly at
altitudes of 650 to 1800 meters, and fish that
live deep underwater can be found down to
-8,372 meters in the Puerto RicoTrench.
 There are more extreme examples for life
on the planet: Rüppell's Vulture has been
found attitudes of 11,300 meters; Bar-
headed Geese migrate at altitudes of at least
8,300 meters (over Mount Everest); Yaks
live at elevations between 3,200 to 5,400
meters above sea level; mountain goats live
up to 3,050 meters. Herbivorous animals at
these elevations depend on lichens grasses,
and herbs but the biggest tree is the Tine
palm or mountain coconut found 3,400
meters above sea level.
 Microscopic organisms live at such
extremes that, taking them into
consideration puts the thickness of the
biosphere much greater. Culture able
microbes have been found in the Earth’ s
upper atmosphere as high as 41 km
(Wainwright et al., 2003). It is unlikely,
however, that microbes are active at such
altitudes, where temperatures and air
pressure are extremely low and ultraviolet
radiation very high.
 More likely these microbes were brought
into the upper atmosphere by winds or
possibly volcanic eruptions. Marine
microbes have been found at more than 10
km depth in the Marianas Trench.
Microbes are not limited to the air, water or
the Earth’s surface. Culture able
hemophilic microbes have been extracted
from cores drilled more than 5km into the
Earth's crust in Sweden from rocks between
Temperature increases rapidly depends on many
factors, including type of crust
(continental vs. oceanic), rock type, geographic
location, etc.
It is likely that the limit of life in the
"deep biosphere“ is defined by temperature
rather than absolute
 Our biosphere is divided into a number of
biomes, inhabited by broadly similar flora
and fauna. On land, biomes are separated
primarily by latitude. Terrestrial biomes
lying within the Arctic and Antarctic
Circles are relatively barren of plant and
animal life, while most of the more populous
biomes lie near the equator.
 Terrestrial organisms in temperate and
Arctic biomes have relatively small amounts
of total biomass, smaller energy budgets,
and display prominent adaptations to cold,
including world-spanning migrations, social
adaptations, homeothermy, estivation and
multiple layers of insulation.