The Earth is surrounded by a covering of air which we call the atmosphere.

The Earth is surrounded by a covering of air which we call the atmosphere.
The Earth is surrounded by a covering of air which we call the atmosphere. It reaches over 384 miles from the surface of the earth, so we can only see what occurs in the troposphere and the tropopause. Nitrogen ? 78% Oxygen ? 21% Argon ? 1% Carbon Dioxide ? 0.035% Other ? 0.00253% The above information highlights what the atmosphere is composed of. It is clearly visible that Nitrogen is the dominant gas as over three quarters of the atmosphere is made up of this. It is very fortunate that Nitrogen is not a very reactive gas because if it were not, that atmosphere would be far less stable and extremely dangerous. The pie chart refers to the atmosphere today but it was not always made up of these percentages. It seems that carbon dioxide levels have raised a lot and these rises may be down to many causes such as the industrial revolution and constant deforestation. Natural functions of the atmosphere The atmosphere is vital for life and acts as a life support system to all living things, and the atmosphere helps keep the environment stable for life and has been for billions of years. The Earth has the so called ?Goldilocks? effect due to the stable conditions that are perfect for life.
These conditions include a stable hydrological cycle, steady temperatures that are neither too cold or too hot, crucial gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen and oxygen for life and an ozone layer which limits hazardous radiation. The ozone layer which is located above the stratosphere acts as a guard that absorbs most ultraviolet rays that enter the atmosphere. Weather is a natural occurrence that takes place in the troposphere which is also fundamental for a stable planet as precipitation is formed to produce an input for the hydrological cycle as all the evaporation from the oceans has to be condensed to keep the cycle going and this prevents our water source from quickly diminishing. The gases are furthermore important to all life. Carbon dioxide allows plant life to exist as they need this source to photosynthesise to create food therefore releasing oxygen as a waste product in which animals such as humans use to respire. Plants are vital as they are at the foundation of the food chain and the energy they produce from the carbon is passed on as animals eat the plants and this keeps life going. Human uses of the atmosphere Since the industrial revolution where factories and industry quickly grew, the gas resources contained within the atmosphere are constantly used for creating energy and industrial use. Nitrogen is need for the Haber process where the nitrogen is reacted with hydrogen (extracted from water) to produce ammonia. Oxygen is used in chemical industry as an oxidizer, it is has a major role in steel production e.g. the Bessemer process. Obviously we use oxygen to respire but when illnesses impair the ability to breathe independently pure oxygen must be used in hospitals to aid the sick. Carbon dioxide is used as an inexpensive, non-flammable pressurized gas, e.g. life jackets, steel capsules, air guns and paintball markers. Due to all these industrial uses there are definitely going to be atmospheric pollutants that will have a major effect on the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases such as methane, carbon dioxide nitrous oxide and of course water vapour all help lead to global warming and climate change. Ozone can also be seen as a pollutant as it is a hazard in the troposphere but is extremely helpful in the upper stratosphere. It is clear that the atmosphere is crucial when keeping a stable planet and life would not be able to exist without it.

The Earth is surrounded by a covering of air which we call the atmosphere. 6.8 of 10 on the basis of 2763 Review.