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.Know More
At higher altitudes, fewer molecules are present in the air, according to Altitude.org. There are fewer oxygen molecules, which makes breathing more difficult. In fact, planes fly at such a high altitude that they need to be artificially pressurized so that passengers can breathe.
Atmosphere density depends not only on altitude but on temperature and weather as well. Warm air is less dense than cool air because when heated, the atoms in air molecules become more active and take up more space. Weather ushers in high or low pressure systems that also affect the density of the air. Water vapor decreases the density of air because water molecules take up space that nitrogen and oxygen would normally occupy, and the weight of water in its gaseous state is lighter than that of the equivalent nitrogen and oxygen atoms.Learn more about Atmosphere
Depending on the layer of the atmosphere, the temperature can either decrease or increase at rising altitudes. The five layers of the atmosphere, from lowest to highest, are the troposphere, the stratosphere, the mesosphere, the thermosphere and the exosphere.Full Answer >
In the troposphere, temperature decreases as altitude increases primarily because Earth's atmosphere is heated upward from the lowest level. Although sunlight passes through the higher altitudes to reach the surface of the Earth, the surface is much better at absorbing the solar heat.Full Answer >
The altitude of the thermosphere stretches between 56 and 621 miles above Earth. The thermosphere is located between layers called mesosphere and exosphere. All three are atmospheric layers of the planet Earth.Full Answer >
Air seems thinner at high altitudes because air pressure is lower, which allows individual air molecules to occupy a larger volume than air molecules do at low altitudes. This decreasing pressure with increasing altitude occurs because there are increasingly fewer air molecules exerting pressure on the next-lowest altitude.Full Answer >