The thermosphere is so hot because it absorbs a large amount of the ultraviolet and x-ray radiation coming to Earth from the sun, converting it to heat. Its temperature is extremely variable, based on both the time of day and the sun's activity.Continue Reading
Temperatures within the thermosphere increase at higher levels until it becomes somewhat stable up to the thermopause, the end of the thermosphere and the beginning of the exosphere. In upper levels, the typical temperatures of the thermosphere are usually anywhere between 900 degrees and 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature often is about 400 degrees Fahrenheit hotter during the day than at night. It is around 900 degrees Fahrenheit hotter when the sun is very active than when it is inactive.
The thermosphere is considered part of the atmosphere, but it is extremely thin and has different components than the lower atmosphere. Rather than the mix of gases found in the lower atmosphere, different elements tend to be in different regions in the thermosphere. In addition, the gas molecules tend to dissociate into individual atoms, so that the gases in the thermosphere are largely atomic oxygen, atomic nitrogen and helium. These gases are frequently hit by ionizing radiation from the sun, stripping electrons from them.Learn more about Earth Science
The sun is the heat source that makes the Earth habitable. Solar radiation warms the surface of the planet during the day, and the surface radiates that heat back out at night. The Earth's atmosphere traps much of this radiated energy, reflecting it back down to keep the planet at a habitable temperature day and night.Full Answer >
Some of the things that cause temperatures change on Earth include the greenhouse effect, the amount of heat from the sun reaching Earth, deforestation and changes in Earth's surface with regards to reflectivity. Temperature change on Earth has become a major topic of debate in recent years because of its negative effects.Full Answer >
Earth revolves around the sun roughly once every 365 days, which sets the length of the year and drives the cycle of the seasons. A slight variance in Earth's average distance from the sun also exists, giving the planet a slightly elliptical path that makes seasons in the Southern Hemisphere somewhat more extreme than those in the Northern Hemisphere.Full Answer >
Global winds refer to the pattern of air movement all around the globe, and they result from the fact that the Earth receives unequal heating from the sun. Not only does the tilt of the Earth's axis mean that different parts of the planet receive disparate amounts of sunlight, but the oceans and lands also heat at different rates. The imbalance in temperature makes heat move toward the poles, both in the wind and in ocean currents. When horizontal variances in air pressure take place as a result, wind occurs.Full Answer >