Atmosphere

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When hot and cold air meet, the warm air rises above the cool air, creating a low pressure zone. Warm air tends to cool as it reaches higher elevations, with the liquid in it condensing and forming clouds and rain. Cool air rushes in to fill the low pressure zone, pushing more warm air up and creating a cycle that can result in high winds and storms.

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  • What Atmospheric Layer Contains the Most Ozone?

    Q: What Atmospheric Layer Contains the Most Ozone?

    A: The ozone layer contains about 90 percent of Earth's ozone. It is part of Earth's stratosphere and lies between 6 and 30 miles above the planet's surface, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The highest concentration of ozone is found between 12 and 19 miles above the surface, notes Wikipedia.
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  • Why Is There Wind?

    Q: Why Is There Wind?

    A: According to the National Center for Atmospheric Research, wind exists because of the movement of air and the differences in air pressure within the atmosphere. When high-pressure air moves toward low-pressure air, the difference in pressure leads to a faster air current or stronger wind.
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  • What Does a Tornado Do?

    Q: What Does a Tornado Do?

    A: A tornado is a violently swirling column of air that forms at the base of a thunderstorm. When the tornado is visible, it's because the air gathered up water droplets, dust particles and debris. It is a destructive force of nature, with winds that can exceed 300 miles per hour, and it can damage areas as large as a mile wide and 50 miles long.
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  • When Is an Air Parcel Considered Unstable?

    Q: When Is an Air Parcel Considered Unstable?

    A: An air parcel is unstable if its temperature is and remains higher than the temperature of its surrounding environment as it rises above the ground. When this occurs, the parcel continues to rise. This is known as moist convection.
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  • Where Does Oxygen We Breathe Come From?

    Q: Where Does Oxygen We Breathe Come From?

    A: Green plants produce the oxygen that humans and other animals require for life. Plants produce this oxygen via photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process by which plants create their own food. Oxygen is a by-product of the process of photosynthesis.
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  • Where Is the Ozone Layer Located?

    Q: Where Is the Ozone Layer Located?

    A: The ozone layer is located in the stratosphere, a region of the atmosphere that is about 10 to 50 kilometers above the Earth. The stratosphere consists of approximately 90 percent ozone. Ozone has the chemical formula O3.
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  • What Are Some Examples of Atmospheres?

    Q: What Are Some Examples of Atmospheres?

    A: Earth's atmosphere is primarily composed of nitrogen and oxygen with water vapor comprising 0.25 percent of the atmosphere by mass. It has five layers: troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere and exosphere.
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  • Why Is Air Important?

    Q: Why Is Air Important?

    A: Air is important for the planet because it contains the gases necessary to support plants, animals and other organisms. Additionally, the presence of an atmosphere keeps the Earth at a habitable temperature.
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  • How Do Hurricanes Occur?

    Q: How Do Hurricanes Occur?

    A: A hurricane is a severe kind of tropical cyclone, which is a low-pressure system with defined wind circulation that occurs over the tropics. During a hurricane, sustained winds reach speeds of 74 mph or higher, while air pressure in the center of the cyclone drops, and the Coriolis force causes these winds to spiral counterclockwise.
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  • What Is the Hottest Layer of the Atmosphere?

    Q: What Is the Hottest Layer of the Atmosphere?

    A: The thermosphere is the hottest layer of the atmosphere. It extends from 80 kilometers above the surface of the Earth up to 600 kilometers and can heat up to 1,500 degrees Celsius because it’s very sensitive to solar activity. The air is thin and extremely hot, and there are sparse air molecules in this layer.
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  • Why Does the Sky Change Colors?

    Q: Why Does the Sky Change Colors?

    A: There are many proximate causes for changes to the color of the sky, but they all involve the way light is diffracted through the air. Light from the sun can be bent as it moves through the Earth's atmosphere, and the wavelengths of light that are able to pass most easily through the air give the sky its color.
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  • What Is a Jet Stream?

    Q: What Is a Jet Stream?

    A: Jet streams are areas of high winds that flow in a westerly direction on Earth. Occurring about 7 miles above the surface of the Earth, the jet streams do not take a consistent path because the flow of wind moves about slightly, altering the weather patterns as it does so. At times, slivers of wind may break away from the main flow and only rejoin the jet stream later.
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  • What Is the Function of the Atmosphere?

    Q: What Is the Function of the Atmosphere?

    A: The atmosphere works as a place to contain the oxygen that is necessary for life, works as a blanket to shield the earth from radiation and helps to create the different types of weather that are felt on the Earth. The atmosphere also contains small amounts of carbon dioxide that is necessary for plants to be able to live.
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  • What Can We Do to Prevent Ozone Depletion?

    Q: What Can We Do to Prevent Ozone Depletion?

    A: According to Green Diary, ozone depletion can be prevented by limiting the use of private vehicles, making use of eco-friendly cleaning products for the home, avoiding the use of pesticides and banning the use of nitrous oxide. The main cause of ozone depletion is the use of man-made halocarbon refrigerants including freons, halons and CFCs.
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  • What Is the Color Spectrum?

    Q: What Is the Color Spectrum?

    A: The color spectrum is the entire range of light wavelengths visible to the human eye. These range from approximately 400 nanometers per wavelength, at the violet end of the spectrum, to 700 nanometers per wavelength, at the red end of the spectrum.
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  • What Is an Urban Heat Island?

    Q: What Is an Urban Heat Island?

    A: An urban heat island is an elevation in the temperature of outdoor urban air during the daytime. This is a result of man-made structures, such as buildings and roads, that have replaced outdoor vegetation, such as trees. As a result, more heat is absorbed, and the temperature is warmer.
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  • What Are the Three Major Wind Belts?

    Q: What Are the Three Major Wind Belts?

    A: The three major wind belts, also known as circulations, are the Hadley cell, the Ferrel cell and the Polar cell. The circulation of these winds is caused by the rotation of the earth and the energy of the sun.
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  • Where Do Clouds Come From?

    Q: Where Do Clouds Come From?

    A: Clouds come from small liquid droplets or frozen crystals of water and float in the atmosphere above the surface of Earth, or any other planet known to have a gas in the atmosphere.
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  • What Is the Climate of the Atacama Desert?

    Q: What Is the Climate of the Atacama Desert?

    A: The Atacama Desert in Chile is the driest desert in the world. Average rainfall totals 0.59 inches per year, but some weather stations placed there have never received rain, and historical evidence suggests the desert may have experienced no rainfall at all from 1570 to 1971. Daytime temperatures average between 32 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit, and nighttime temperatures can drop to 10 to 15 degrees below zero.
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  • How Does Altitude Affect Climate?

    Q: How Does Altitude Affect Climate?

    A: Altitude affects climate in that the higher up you get, the more the temperature drops. The temperature goes down roughly 4 degrees Fahrenheit for every 1,000 feet you climb. Altitude is the subject's distance from the sea. This is why a lot of high-up places such as mountaintops often get snow for most of the year when other places do not, no matter how low the temperature drops.
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  • Who Discovered the Greenhouse Effect?

    Q: Who Discovered the Greenhouse Effect?

    A: In 1824, Joseph Fourier was the first to argue for the existence of the greenhouse effect. Svante Arrhenius fully quantified the greenhouse effect in 1896.
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