The Atmosphere

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1.5a  Structure of the Atmosphere

The atmosphere has 4 layers: the troposphere that we live in near the surface of the earth; the stratosphere that houses the ozone layer; the mesosphere, a colder and lower density layer with about 0.1% of the atmosphere; and the thermosphere, the top layer, where the air is hot but very thin.

1.5b  Composition of the Atmosphere

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.