Stratosphere Facts

Stratosphere Facts
Stratosphere is one of the five layers of the earth's atmosphere. Acquaint yourself with some stratosphere facts, through this article.We use the term 'atmosphere' quite often, but what does it mean? There are four important spheres of the earth - the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and lithosphere. Atmosphere concerns the air, and is the term used for the envelope of air which surrounds the earth. This envelope of air is divided into several layers based on various factors like composition, temperature, etc., The five distinct layers of the atmosphere are - the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere and exosphere, in order from the ground surface. It is interesting to note that the atmospheric layers stretch to some 600 kilometers above the ground level! The density of air in the atmospheric layers lowers as we move up and then it is the highest at the first two layers, the troposphere and the stratosphere. Our point of discussion in this article is the second layer of the atmospheric layers or the 'stratosphere'. Stratosphere is an important layer of the earth's atmosphere, because it also incorporates the very important ozone layer, the significance of which I need not mention. Let's now jump to the stratosphere facts straightaway.

Interesting Stratosphere Facts

✔ Stratosphere occupies the central region of the atmosphere, and is the second layer of the atmosphere from the ground surface; tropopause separates stratosphere from the troposphere.

✔ Stratosphere constitutes about 24% of the total atmosphere. And it contains about 19% of the atmospheric gases.

✔ Stratosphere extends to some 50 km above the ground level.

✔ Ozone layer forms the upper crust of the stratosphere, and the stratosphere has about 90% of ozone layer. This layer combines oxygen atoms to form the ozone molecules. Ozone molecules absorb the harmful UV radiations from the sun.

✔ In the stratosphere, the temperature rises as we move up. Reason for this increase in temperature is absorption of harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun by the ozone molecules.

✔ There is no uniformity in the stratosphere if the temperature is considered. This is because of the presence of ozone layer at the top region of the stratosphere. The temperature at the top of stratosphere is around 270 K (-3°C or 29.6°F). The temperature in the middle and lower region is less as the UV rays do not reach there.

✔ Composition of gases: Atomic oxygen (O) is found in the upper region of the stratosphere. UV rays break the ozone (O3) molecule into atomic oxygen and diatomic oxygen (O2). Along with these gases, methane is also found in the upper region of the stratosphere. Methane (CH4) reacts with many hydroxy compounds (-OH) and can destroy the ozone molecules. The water vapor proportion in the stratosphere is very low.

Fun Stratosphere Facts for Kids

✔ This is the second layer of the atmosphere from the surface of the earth, and lies between the troposphere and the mesosphere.

✔ In stratosphere - 'strato' means layer and sphere is the shape of the earth. Thus it means layer which surrounds the earth.

✔ There are no clouds in the stratosphere, and though there are wind currents in this sphere, it is a relatively calmer layer.

✔ The crucial ozone layer, which protects us from the harmful UV rays of the sun, is a part of the stratosphere, and forms a thin layer at the upper region of this sphere.

✔ Spy jets fly in the lower stratosphere as the weather conditions there are conducive to flying. In bad weather conditions, or when the fuel is running out, airplanes move up from the troposphere to this layer because the air density is not very dense, and the planes can fly at top speeds without encountering any turbulence.

✔ Life exists in the stratosphere in the form of some biological bacteria, making it a part of the biosphere too!

✔ Some birds also reach the heights of stratosphere (in the lower part though) and can fly there.

These were some of the interesting facts on the stratosphere. Stratosphere incorporates the ozone layer and to protect the ozone layer we need to increase the oxygen and decrease the CFCs in the air. Thus planting trees is a solution each one of us can follow, to protect our earth from the harmful effects of ozone depletion.

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