The mesosphere, which is the third innermost layer of the Earth's atmosphere, is comprised largely of nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide. Its chemical composition differs very little from that of the innermost layers of atmosphere, with the approximate composition being 79 percent nitrogen, 20 percent oxygen and 1 percent carbon dioxide and other trace gases. The density of these gases is lower in the mesosphere than in the lower atmosphere.Know More
The mesosphere is found from approximately 31 miles to 53 miles above the Earth's surface. Partially due to the low density of gas molecules here, the temperature often dips as low as -130 degrees F. Temperature decreases further away from the Earth's surface.
Because of the low temperatures and the presence of combustible gases in the mesosphere, meteors slow down when they enter this layer of the atmosphere. Their reaction with the oxygen in the atmosphere leaves behind a fiery trail that is sometimes seen from Earth. Iron and other metal ions are also created as a result of this process, so the mesosphere has a higher ionic content than other atmospheric layers. Occasionally, this causes clouds of ions to form near the poles. These polar mesospheric clouds emit charges in a manner similar to lightning.Learn more about Atmosphere
The four main gases in the atmosphere are nitrogen, oxygen, argon and carbon dioxide. However, two of these gases make up most of the atmosphere. They are nitrogen and oxygen, which between them account for over 99 percent of the atmosphere.Full Answer >
The Earth's atmosphere is primarily made up of nitrogen, oxygen and argon, but it includes trace gases in smaller amounts such as neon, helium, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone. The most abundant gases in the atmosphere are nitrogen at 78 percent and oxygen at 21 percent, while the trace gases methane, neon and helium make up around one-tenth of 1 percent of the atmosphere.Full Answer >
In addition to providing the oxygen and carbon dioxide necessary to support life on Earth, the atmosphere also blocks harmful radiation from the sun and traps heat to make the surface of the planet habitable. Without the atmosphere, the Earth's environment would resemble that of the moon.Full Answer >
Nitrogen compounds in the soil are broken down by Pseudomonas bacteria through a process called denitrification, thereby returning nitrogen in its original form to the atmosphere. The weathering of rocks by wind, rain and friction also releases the free nitrogen present within them into the air.Full Answer >