Atmosphere Facts for Kids
Do you love learning about the Earth? How about what’s outside the Earth? I’m not talking about the gas giants or the solar system, I’m talking about the atmosphere! Let’s learn some atmosphere facts for kids! Earth’s atmosphere is a layer of gases that protects our planet from harmful radiation, meteors, and other objects.
The atmosphere also regulates the temperature of Earth. It keeps our planet from burning up or becoming freezing cold. Without the atmosphere, life on Earth wouldn’t exist. Oh, and neither would the pretty night sky or the Aurora Borealis. Those are a result of the atmosphere too! So now that you know just how important the atmosphere is let’s get to know it a little more with these fun facts.
Lowest Layers of the Atmosphere
The Earth’s atmosphere is made up of different layers including the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere.
The troposphere is the layer closest to the Earth’s surface and contains about 80% of the atmosphere’s mass.
The next layer is the stratosphere. It is located above the troposphere and contains a layer of gases with mostly oxygen. That’s because this part of the atmosphere contains the ozone layer or O3 layer.
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Auroras are in the Upper Layers of the Atmosphere
The mesosphere is the third layer of the atmosphere above the stratosphere. It is where most meteors burn up when entering the atmosphere.
The thermosphere is the highest layer of the atmosphere. It is the uppermost layer sitting above the mesosphere. This is where auroras or bright lights are typically seen. Have you ever seen the Aurora Borealis or Northern lights? Chances are you were looking at the thermosphere.
Gases in the Atmosphere Are Mostly Nitrogen
Earth’s atmosphere is mostly a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen. It is about 78 percent or four-fifths nitrogen and approximately 21 percent or one-fifth oxygen. The other one percent is mostly argon and other small gas particles of neon, carbon dioxide, and methane. Water vapor can also be found among these layers of gases.
The ozone layer in the stratosphere is a thin layer of gas that contains much oxygen. The high levels of oxygen help protect us from the sun’s UV rays (ultraviolet radiation).
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Atmosphere Facts for Kids – Characteristics
The current atmosphere has a total mass of about 5.15 quadrillion kilograms. That’s very heavy for being filled with gas! The troposphere is the heaviest layer as a result of the atmospheric pressure pushing down on it from the other layers.
The atmosphere is constantly in motion, with solar wind speeds reaching up to 300 mph. That means the atmosphere of Earth has winds stronger than most hurricanes!
The atmosphere is heated by the sun and warms the Earth’s surface to an average of 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Without the atmosphere, humans would likely not survive on Earth.
Atmosphere Facts for Kids – Purpose
The atmosphere helps to regulate the Earth’s climate and temperature. Heat emitted by the sun is absorbed by the atmosphere and radiated onto the surface of Earth.
The atmosphere filters out harmful UV radiation from the sun. Different gases, such as nitrogen and oxygen absorb the harmful solar radiation to essentially block it from reaching the surface of the Earth. The atmosphere of the Earth serves as a protective layer of air, so life forms can exist on Earth.
The atmosphere protects us from meteors and other space debris. The mixture of gases breaks down these objects into small particles or can even disintegrate them completely. That’s pretty cool!
The atmosphere creates the twilight sky and the beautiful auroras, so the next time you see a beautiful night sky, you can thank the atmosphere for that!
The atmosphere makes it possible for us to breathe and live on Earth and is essential for the survival of all life on Earth.
The Future of the Atmosphere
No matter where you live in the World, the atmosphere protects you, your family, your pets, and your plants. It is crucial to the planet Earth and necessary for life.
However, some scientists believe the atmosphere is thinning is that there is a hole in the ozone layer. That means the Earth is less protected from the harmful radiation of the sun and flying objects of space.
So what can you do to preserve our atmosphere? Pick up litter and turn off the water when you are not using it. Also, be sure to recycle bottles and cans. This is a great way to keep the Earth clean and you might even make a little money doing it!
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