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-is a layer of gases surrounding a planet or other material body, that is held in place by the gravity of that body. An
atmosphere is more likely to be retained if the gravity it is subject to is high and the temperature of the atmosphere
is low.
Why do we care about the ATMOSPHERE?
-The atmosphere is shared by every person on this Earth. When one person (or group or nation) affects the
atmosphere, it affects all of us. Without the atmosphere, we would find it very hard to survive. Humans can last
weeks without food, days without water, but only minutes without air. We also consume it at a higher rate: humans
breathe the equivalent of 13 kg of air each day, compared with eating 2.4 kg of food and drinking 1 kg of liquid. Our
daily lives are also influenced by the atmosphere. How warm it is or whether it's raining determine what kind of
clothing we wear and what kind of activities we participate in. Local climates affect what kind of houses we build.
-Our daily lives are also influenced by the atmosphere. How warm it is or whether it's raining determine what kind
of clothing we wear and what kind of activities we participate in. Local climates affect what kind of houses we build.
-We are also protected by the atmosphere. It acts as a huge blanket, keeping the Earth warmer than it would be
without the atmosphere. This is known as the greenhouse effect. (Without the atmosphere, the average
temperature on Earth would be below freezing!) The atmosphere also protects living things on Earth from the sun's
harmful ultraviolet radiation. A thin layer of gas called ozone high up in the atmosphere filters out these dangerous
-The atmosphere also helps to sustain life of Earth. It provides oxygen for humans and animals to breathe, and
carbon dioxide for plants. Through the hydrological (precipitation) cycle, plants and animals receive the water they
need to survive
-The atmosphere can also affect us in negative ways. Most of the natural catastrophes that occur are due to phenomena in
the atmosphere. Things like hurricanes, lightning and thunderstorms, hail, flooding, and tornadoes. Severe consequences can
also occur when humans pollute the atmosphere, such as creating smog or destroying ozone. These kinds of things can cause
illnesses and even cancer.
How does Earth keep its atmosphere?
-Earth’s atmosphere is an extremely thin skin surrounding our planet. What force keeps it from flying off into
-Earth’s atmosphere is only 1/1,200,000 the mass of Earth itself. So it is a very thin skin surrounding our planet. ----
How does Earth hold on to this thin skin of atmosphere?
-The answer is gravity – the same force that keeps us anchored to Earth.
-And yet, although you might not realize it or think about it, Earth does continually lose some of its atmosphere to
space. This loss occurs in the upper atmosphere, over billion-year time scales.
-In the vicinity of our heavier Earth, where gravity is stronger than on Mars, not all particles are equally likely to -
escape. Light ones, like hydrogen and helium, typically move faster than heavier ones, like oxygen and nitrogen.
The light atoms are more likely to reach escape velocity and escape to space. That’s why light molecules are rare
in our atmosphere, in contrast to their abundance in the universe at large.

• The atmosphere contains many gases, most in small amounts, including some pollutants and greenhouse
gases. The most abundant gas in the atmosphere is nitrogen, with oxygen second. Argon, an inert gas, is the
third most abundant gas in the atmosphere.
• Why do I care? The composition of the atmosphere, among other things, determines its ability to transmit
sunlight and trap infrared light, leading to potentially long-term changes in climate.
Figure A. Graphs of the overall atmospheric concentration
and the relative percentages of trace gases.
• General Characteristics
- The Atmosphere is divided into four separated layers. These layer are the troposphere, Stratosphere,
mesosphere, and thermosphere.

The hydrosphere is all the water on earth, whether it is present as a liquid, vapor, ice, seas, rivers.
The lithosphere is the rigid outer part of the earth. Composed of rocks minerals and elements.
The biosphere refers to all living things on earth and all atmosphere. Hydrosphere, and lithosphere are all needed
in order for the earth’s biosphere to survive
Cloud physics
is the study of the physical processes that lead to the formation, growth and precipitation of atmospheric clouds.
These aerosols are found in the troposphere, stratosphere, and mesosphere, which collectively make up the
greatest part of the homosphere. Clouds consist of microscopic droplets of liquid water (warm clouds), tiny crystals
of ice (cold clouds), or both (mixed phase clouds).

Why important
-Clouds are extremely important in regulating the earth’s climate; they play a key role in the water cycle and are
effective in removing pollution from the atmosphere through precipitation. In order to accurately assess future
climate conditions, or to provide useful weather forecasts clouds must be accurately represented in regional and
global models.

Cloud formation: how the air becomes saturated

Adiabatic cooling: rising packets of moist air
-As water evaporates from an area of the earth surface, the air over that area becomes moist. Moist air is lighter
than the surrounding dry air, creating an unstable situation. When enough moist air has accumulated, all the moist
air rises as a single packet, without mixing with the surrounding air. As more moist air forms along the surface, the
process repeats, resulting in a series of discrete packets of moist air rising to form clouds.
Frontal and cyclonic lift
-Frontal and cyclonic lift occur in their purest manifestations when stable air, which has been subjected to little or
no surface heating, is forced aloft at weather fronts and around centers of low pressure. Warm fronts associated
with extratropical cyclones tend to generate mostly cirriform and stratiform clouds over a wide area unless the
approaching warm airmass is unstable, in which case cumulus congestus or cumulonimbus clouds will usually be
embedded in the main precipitating cloud layer.
-is the first step in the formation of either a new thermodynamic phase or a new structure via self-assembly or self-
organization. Nucleation is typically defined to be the process that determines how long an observer has to wait
before the new phase or self-organized structure appears. For example, if a volume of water is cooled (at
atmospheric pressure) below 0° C, it will tend to freeze into ice.
-of the droplets of liquid water is heterogeneous, occurring on particles referred to as cloud condensation
nuclei. Cloud seeding is the process of adding artificial condensation nuclei to quicken the formation of clouds.

Processes for Cloud Droplet Growth

One theory explaining how the behavior of individual droplets in a cloud leads to the formation of precipitation is
the collision-coalescence process. Droplets suspended in the air will interact with each other, either by colliding
and bouncing off each other or by combining to form a larger droplet. Eventually, the droplets become large
enough that they fall to the earth as precipitation. The collision-coalescence process does not make up a
significant part of cloud formation, as water droplets have a relatively high surface tension. In addition, the
occurrence of collision-coalescence is closely related to entrainment-mixing processes.