Atmosphere

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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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  • 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 happens when hot air meets cold air?

    Q: What happens when hot air meets cold air?

    A: 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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  • 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 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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  • 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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  • Which types of gases did the early atmosphere primarily contain?

    Q: Which types of gases did the early atmosphere primarily contain?

    A: Earth's atmosphere has gone through multiple distinct phases throughout its life, from a hydrogen-rich early period to the modern oxidizing chemistry. The first atmosphere Earth had was chemically very similar to the composition of the primordial dust and gas cloud from which the solar system formed. This chemistry can be seen in some asteroids, and it is a combination of hydrogen, helium and complex organic molecules.
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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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  • 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 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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  • 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 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • Why is the coolest time of day just before sunrise?

    Q: Why is the coolest time of day just before sunrise?

    A: According to USA Today, the coldest time of the day comes just before sunrise because the earth has had all night to expel the heat from the previous day into the atmosphere. As soon as the sun begins to rise, the earth will immediately begin to heat up once again.
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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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  • What are the stages of the water cycle?

    Q: What are the stages of the water cycle?

    A: 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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