Atmosphere

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The stages of the water cycle are evaporation, condensation, precipitation and collection. The water cycle is energized by the sun's energy and requires the attractive force of gravity.

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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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  • How does the ozone layer work?

    Q: How does the ozone layer work?

    A: According to How Stuff Works, the ozone layer works by ultraviolet light breaking apart oxygen molecules and then reforming them as ozone. Ozone converts the dangerous ultraviolet rays into harmless heat. With an adequate supply of ozone and oxygen, the ozone layer will absorb approximately 98 percent of incoming ultraviolet rays.
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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 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Where do you see the Northern Lights?

    Q: Where do you see the Northern Lights?

    A: Under normal circumstances, the northern lights occur in a narrow band around 10 to 20 degrees of latitude from the North Pole. In North America, this restricts their range to parts of Alaska, northwest Canada and Greenland. In Europe, Norway and parts of Siberia also experience the northern lights on occasion. However, changes in the Earth's geomagnetic field and solar activity can alter the range and activity of the aurorae.
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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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  • Why does the atmosphere become less dense as altitude increases?

    Q: Why does the atmosphere become less dense as altitude increases?

    A: The atmosphere becomes less dense as altitude increases because there is less weight on the air molecules, making them less compressed. The air at lower altitudes is denser because it is pressed down by the weight of all the air molecules above. Also, the further away air molecules are from the Earth, the less weight they have because of a lower gravitational pull.
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  • What are three greenhouse gases?

    Q: What are three greenhouse gases?

    A: Three greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Greenhouse gases rise up into the atmosphere and envelop the Earth, causing the planet to warm up. The increase in average temperatures around the world is called global warming.
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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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  • Why is the sky pink sometimes?

    Q: Why is the sky pink sometimes?

    A: The physical process of scattering causes the sky to appear pink at times and other colors too. During this process, tiny particles of light are bounced off air molecules. Wavelength, time of day and laws of quantum mechanics play key roles in determining the color of the sky.
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  • Why is the ozone layer important?

    Q: Why is the ozone layer important?

    A: The ozone layer is important because it filters harmful ultraviolet radiation as it travels from the sun to the surface of the Earth. These ultraviolet rays can harm both plant and animal life. After observation of a depletion of the ozone layer from the addition of chlorofluorocarbons and other man-made chemicals, the Montreal Protocol was enacted on Jan. 1, 1989 as an attempt to eradicate these chemicals from the atmosphere.
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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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  • 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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  • How was Cyclone Tracy formed?

    Q: How was Cyclone Tracy formed?

    A: Cyclone Tracy developed as a tropical low-pressure system in the Arafura Sea between Australia and New Guinea on Dec. 20, 1974. The low was 300 miles away from Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory. Cyclone Tracy killed 71 people, caused 650 injuries and destroyed 80 percent of the buildings in Darwin. As of July 2014, this storm is the deadliest in Australian history since modern record-keeping began.
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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 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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  • How does the atmosphere support life on Earth?

    Q: How does the atmosphere support life on Earth?

    A: The atmosphere supports life on Earth by protecting it from dangerous electromagnetic radiation, by creating and controlling weather and climate and by providing the gases that plants and animals need to breathe. The atmosphere is composed of the troposphere, the tropopause, the stratosphere, the mesosphere and the ionosphere.
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