What gases make up the mesosphere?


Quick Answer

Nitrogen and oxygen are the gases that make up the mesosphere. The temperature in the mesosphere is cold enough to create ice clouds that are visible from Earth. Electrical charges within the mesosphere are also sometimes seen on Earth.

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Full Answer

The mesosphere is the third layer of the earth's atmosphere, where most meteors burn up. This results in a high presence of metal atoms, such as iron, in the mesosphere. The mesosphere begins at about 31 miles above the surface of the Earth and spans a distance of approximately 22 miles.

The temperature in the mesosphere decreases as altitude increases, making it the coldest layer in the atmosphere. The temperature drops to about minus 100 degrees Celsius. The extreme cold and its location make studying this layer of the atmosphere and understanding its components very difficult.

There are various gases present throughout the atmosphere. The concentration and amount of those gases depends on the altitude and the temperature of the air. Small levels of gases such as hydrogen, helium, carbon dioxide and argon also make up the atmosphere.

The five levels that make up the atmosphere are the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere and exosphere. Abrupt changes in air temperature distinguish the levels from each other.

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