Q:

What is the thickest layer of the atmosphere?

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Quick Answer

The troposphere is the thickest layer of the atmosphere. It is the first of the five layers of the atmosphere, and it is just above the surface of the Earth. The troposphere contains 99% of the Earth’s water and 75% of its atmosphere.

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Full Answer

The stratosphere is the second layer of the atmosphere. It is above the weather and very stable, and airplanes typically fly in this layer. The mesosphere lies above the stratosphere, and above that is the thermosphere. Auroras are formed in the thermosphere, and the International Space Station orbits in the layer. The exosphere is the final layer of the atmosphere.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the thickness of the troposphere?

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    The troposphere, the lowest layer of Earth's atmosphere, varies in thickness from 12 miles (65,000 feet) at the equator to only four miles (23,000 feet) near the poles. This layer's thickness changes by as much as seven miles when air density gradually alters due to warming at the surface during different seasons. These shifts in density are most pronounced around mid-latitudes between the tropics and the poles.

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  • Q:

    Where in the atmosphere does most weather occur?

    A:

    Almost all weather experienced at the Earth's surface is the result of what is occurring in the troposphere, which is the lowest layer of the atmosphere. Rising to a level between 4 to 12 miles above the Earth's surface, the troposphere contains 75 to 80 percent of the entire mass of the atmosphere. Nearly all of the atmosphere's dust particles and water vapor are within the troposphere, which results in this layer also containing the greatest number of clouds.

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  • Q:

    What are characteristics of the troposphere?

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    The troposphere is the lowest layer of Earth's atmosphere, which contains almost all of the weather, 99 percent of the water vapor and as much as 80 percent of the atmosphere's mass. The troposphere is 12 miles thick at the equator and four miles thick at the poles. The temperature drops from roughly 62 F at the surface to minus 60 F at the upper boundary.

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  • Q:

    What is the ozone layer made of?

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    The ozone layer, which is part of the stratosphere, is comprised of the major atmospheric gases nitrogen, oxygen and argon, but also contains a significantly higher concentration of the trace gas ozone than the other layers of the atmosphere. The other trace gases include carbon dioxide, neon, helium, methane and the manmade chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs. The CFCs reaching the stratosphere from the Earth's surface have become a cause for global concern because of the role they play in the chemical reaction that removes ozone from the atmosphere.

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