Q:

Why is the atmosphere important?

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Quick Answer

Earth's atmosphere is important for several reasons: it supports the exchange of life-sustaining gases, filters sunlight, regulates temperature and even plays a role in the water cycle. The atmosphere contains five distinct layers. Its first layer, the stratosphere, is closest to Earth and serves as the activity spot for weather production and cloud formation. It contains an ozone layer, which prevents dangerous sun rays from passing through clouds and modifies temperature, letting life exist.

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The layers of the atmosphere decrease in thickness upon moving from the first layer, closest to Earth, to the fifth and farthest layer. Each layer has a particular purpose, such as retaining certain gases and modifying temperature.

The atmosphere plays a large role in regulating the type and quantity of gases necessary for supporting life on Earth. This includes regulation of oxygen and carbon dioxide, two of the most important gases. The atmosphere also controls the amount of greenhouse gases in the air, which affects temperature and air quality.

Earth's atmosphere plays a key role in the planet's water cycle. It stores water in the form of water vapor, and initiates formation and movement of weather cycles and precipitation. The atmosphere plays a distinct role in regulating life, but the introduction of excessive volumes of greenhouse gases and synthetic compounds interrupt the atmosphere's routine functions, leading to issues like ozone holes, acid rain and global warming.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are some facts about the exosphere?

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    As the highest layer of the atmosphere, the Earth's exosphere contains very thin air and features both lower and upper boundaries. The exosphere's boundaries vary by altitude depending on the level of the sun's activity and solar radiation emissions. There is some debate among scientists as to whether the exosphere should be considered a layer of the atmosphere or a part of space.

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  • Q:

    How does the hydrosphere affect the atmosphere?

    A:

    Evaporated water from the hydrosphere gets stored in the atmosphere, which later releases the water back to the surface of the Earth in the form of precipitation. Water evaporates in warm areas, and the water vapor rises up into the atmosphere. Once there, the water can travel great distances and eventually gets dumped back onto the Earth.

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  • Q:

    When did oxygen begin to accumulate in the atmosphere?

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    Oxygen began to accumulate in the atmosphere during the Proterozoic Era, which began about two billion years ago and ended about 700 million years ago. Much of this oxygen arose from the actions of the cyanobacteria.

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  • Q:

    What are the interactions between the atmosphere and hydrosphere?

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    Interactions between the atmosphere and hydrosphere involve creation of water-related weather activity, such as rainfall, snowstorms, hurricanes and monsoons. The atmosphere contains five layers, which perform separate functions. The atmosphere performs many important duties, including producing winds and temperature that influences seasonal temperatures, and interacts with all systems on Earth, including the lithosphere and biosphere.

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