Contents
structure of atmosphere[edit  edit source]
Name  Altitude(km)  Pressure  Temperature  Remark 
Troposphere  ~8/15  1~1/3  Temperatures decrease at middle latitudes from an average of 15°C at sea level to about 55°C at the beginning of the Tropopause. At the poles, the troposphere is thinner and the temperature only decreases to 45°C, while at the Equator the temperature at the top of the troposphere can reach 75°C.  pole~equ. 
Tropopause  
Stratosphere  ~50/60  1/10~1/1000  Within this layer, temperature increases as altitude increases (see temperature inversion); the top of the stratosphere has a temperature of about 270 K (−3°C or 29.6°F), just slightly below the freezing point of water.  
Stratopause  50~55  1/1000  
Mesosphere  ~95/120  1/10000~1/100000  Temperatures in the upper mesosphere fall as low as −100 °C (170 K; −150 °F), varying according to Latitude latitude and Season.  
Mesopause  Due to the lack of solar heating and very strong Radiative cooling from Carbon dioxide, the mesopause is the coldest place on Earth with temperatures as low as 100°C (146°F or 173 K) .  
Thermosphere  ~600  The highly diluted gas in this layer can reach 2,500 °C (4532° F) during the day.  
Thermopause  250~500  Exobase  
Exosphere  500~1000  
Magnetosphere  ~70,000 km (1012 Earth radii or R, where 1 R=6371 km)/Tail  
Magnatopause  roughly bullet shaped, about 15 RE abreast of Earth and on the night side (in the "magnetotail" or "geotail") approaching a cylinder with a radius 2025 RE. The tail region stretches well past 200 RE, and the way it ends is not wellknown. 
Altitude atmospheric pressure variation[edit  edit source]
Pressure varies smoothly from the Earth's surface to the top of the mesosphere. Although the pressure changes with the weather, NASA has averaged the conditions for all parts of the earth yearround. The following is a list of air pressures (as a fraction of one atmosphere) with the corresponding average altitudes. The table gives a rough idea of air pressure at various altitudes.
fraction of 1 atm  average altitude  

(m)  (ft)  
1  0  0 
1/2  5,486  18,000 
1/e  7,915  25,970 
1/3  8,376  27,480 
1/10  16,132  52,926 
1/100  30,901  101,381 
1/1000  48,467  159,013 
1/10000  69,464  227,899 
1/100000  86,282  283,076 
_{Subscript text}Insert nonformatted text here== Calculating variation with altitude ==
There are two different equations for computing the average pressure at various height regimes below 86 km (Template:Convert/mi ft). Equation 1 is used when the value of standard temperature lapse rate is not equal to zero and equation 2 is used when standard temperature lapse rate equals zero.
Equation 1:
Equation 2:
where
 = Static pressure (pascals, Pa)
 = Standard temperature (kelvin, K)
 = Standard temperature lapse rate (kelvin per meter, K/m)
 = Height above sea level (meters, m)
 = Height at bottom of layer b (meters; e.g., = 11,000 m)
 = Universal gas constant: 8.31432 Nm/(K·mol)
 = Standard gravity (9.80665 m/s^{2})
 = Molar mass of Earth's air (0.0289644 kg/mol)
Or converted to Imperial units:^{[1]}
where
 = Static pressure (inches of mercury, inHg)
 = Standard temperature ([[kelvin]s, K)
 = Standard temperature lapse rate (kelvin per foot, K/ft)
 = Height above sea level (feet, ft)
 = Height at bottom of layer b (feet; e.g., = 36,089 ft)
 = Universal gas constant; using feet, kelvin, and (SI) moles: 8.9494596×10^{4} gft^{2}/(mol·Ks^{2})
 = Standard gravity (32.17405 ft/s^{2})
 = Molar mass of Earth's air (0.0289644 kg/mol)
The value of subscript b ranges from 0 to 6 in accordance with each of seven successive layers of the atmosphere shown in the table below. In these equations, g_{0}, M and R^{*} are each singlevalued constants, while P, L, T, and h are multivalued constants in accordance with the table below. (Note that according to the convention in this equation, L_{0}, the tropospheric lapse rate, is negative.) It should be noted that the values used for M, g_{0}, and are in accordance with the U.S. Standard Atmosphere, 1976, and that the value for in particular does not agree with standard values for this constant.^{[2]} The reference value for P_{b} for b = 0 is the defined sea level value, P_{0} = 101325 pascals or 29.92126 inHg. Values of P_{b} of b = 1 through b = 6 are obtained from the application of the appropriate member of the pair equations 1 and 2 for the case when .:^{[2]}
Subscript b  Height Above Sea Level  Static Pressure  Standard Temperature (K) 
Temperature Lapse Rate  

(m)  (ft)  (pascals)  (decibels)  (inHg)  (K/m)  (K/ft)  
0  0  0  101325  194.093732  29.92126  288.15  0.00649  0.0019812 
1  11,000  36,089  22632  181.073859  6.683245  216.65  0.0  0.0 
2  20,000  65,617  5474  168.745496  1.616734  216.65  0.001  0.0003048 
3  32,000  104,987  868  152.749795  0.2563258  228.65  0.0028  0.00085344 
4  47,000  154,199  110  134.807254  0.0327505  270.65  0.0  0.0 
5  51,000  167,323  66  130.370279  0.01976704  270.65  0.0028  0.00085344 
6  71,000  232,940  4  106.0206  0.00116833  214.65  0.002  0.0006097 
Pressure and thickness[edit  edit source]
 Main article: Atmospheric pressure
 Barometric Formula: (used for airplane flight) barometric formula
 One mathematical model: NRLMSISE00
The average atmospheric pressure, at sea level, is about 101.3 kilopascals (about 14.7 psi); total atmospheric mass is 5.1480×10^{18} kg ^{[3]}.
Atmospheric pressure is a direct result of the total weight of the air above the point at which the pressure is measured. This means that air pressure varies with location and time, because the amount (and weight) of air above the earth varies with location and time. However the average mass of the air above a square meter of the earth's surface is known to the same high accuracy as the total air mass of 5148.0 teratonnes and area of the earth of 51007.2 megahectares, namely 5148.0/510.072 = 10.093 metric tonnes per square meter or 14.356 lbs (mass) per square inch. This is about 2.5% below the officially standardized unit atmosphere (1 atm) of 101.325 kPa or 14.696 psi, and corresponds to the mean pressure not at sea level but at the mean base of the atmosphere as contoured by the earth's terrain.
Were atmospheric density to remain constant with height the atmosphere would terminate abruptly at 7.81 km (25,600 ft). Instead it decreases with height, dropping by 50% at an altitude of about 5.6 km (18,000 ft). For comparison: the highest mountain, Mount Everest, is higher, at 8.8 km, which is why it is so difficult to climb without supplemental oxygen. This pressure drop is approximately exponential, so that pressure decreases by approximately half every 5.6 km (whence about 50% of the total atmospheric mass is within the lowest 5.6 km) and by 63.2 % every 7.64 km, the average scale height of Earth's atmosphere below 70 km. However, because of changes in temperature, average molecular weight, and gravity throughout the atmospheric column, the dependence of atmospheric pressure on altitude is modeled by separate equations for each of the layers listed above.
Even in the exosphere, the atmosphere is still present (as can be seen for example by the effects of atmospheric drag on satellites).
The equations of pressure by altitude in the above references can be used directly to estimate atmospheric thickness. However, the following published data are given for reference: ^{[4]}
 50% of the atmosphere by mass is below an altitude of 5.6 km.
 90% of the atmosphere by mass is below an altitude of 16 km. The common altitude of commercial airliners is about 10 km.
 99.99997% of the atmosphere by mass is below 100 km. The highest X15 plane flight in 1963 reached an altitude of 354,300 ft (108.0 km).
Therefore, most of the atmosphere (99.9997%) is below 100 km, although in the rarefied region above this there are auroras and other atmospheric effects.
Density and mass[edit  edit source]
 Main article: Density of air
The density of air at sea level is about 1.2 kg/m^{3} (1.2 g/L). Density is not measured directly but is calculated from measurements of temperature, pressure and humidity using the equation of state for air (a form of the ideal gas law). Atmospheric density decreases as the altitude increases. This variation can be approximately modeled using the barometric formula. More sophisticated models are used to predict orbital decay of satellites.
The average mass of the atmosphere is about 5 quadrillion (5x10^{15}) tonnes or 1/1,200,000 the mass of Earth. According to the National Center for Atmospheric Research, "The total mean mass of the atmosphere is 5.1480×10^{18} kg with an annual range due to water vapor of 1.2 or 1.5×10^{15} kg depending on whether surface pressure or water vapor data are used; somewhat smaller than the previous estimate. The mean mass of water vapor is estimated as 1.27×10^{16} kg and the dry air mass as 5.1352 ±0.0003×10^{18} kg."
Earth's magnetosphere[edit  edit source]
 Main article: Earth's magnetic field
The magnetosphere of Earth is a region in space whose shape is determined by the extent of Earth's internal magnetic field, the solar wind plasma, and the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). In the magnetosphere, a mix of free ions and electrons from both the solar wind and the Earth's ionosphere is confined by magnetic and electric forces that are much stronger than gravity and collisions. In spite of its name, the magnetosphere is distinctly nonspherical. On the side facing the Sun, the distance to its boundary (which varies with solar wind intensity) is about 70,000 km (1012 Earth radii or R_{E}, where 1 R_{E}=6371 km; unless otherwise noted, all distances here are from the Earth's center). The boundary of the magnetosphere ("magnetopause") is roughly bullet shaped, about 15 R_{E} abreast of Earth and on the night side (in the "magnetotail" or "geotail") approaching a cylinder with a radius 2025 R_{E}. The tail region stretches well past 200 R_{E}, and the way it ends is not wellknown.
The outer neutral gas envelope of Earth, or geocorona, consists mostly of the lightest atoms, hydrogen and helium, and continues beyond 45 R_{E}, with diminishing density. The hot plasma ions of the magnetosphere acquire electrons during collisions with these atoms and create an escaping "glow" of fast atoms that have been used to image the hot plasma clouds by the IMAGE mission. The upward extension of the ionosphere, known as the plasmasphere, also extends beyond 45 R_{E} with diminishing density, beyond which it becomes a flow of light ions called the polar wind that escapes out of the magnetosphere into the solar wind. Energy deposited in the ionosphere by auroras strongly heats the heavier atmospheric components such as oxygen and molecules of oxygen and nitrogen, which would not otherwise escape from Earth's gravity. Owing to this highly variable heating, however, a heavy atmospheric or ionospheric outflow of plasma flows during disturbed periods from the auroral zones into the magnetosphere, extending the region dominated by terrestrial material, known as the fourth or plasma geosphere, at times out to the magnetopause.
Atmospheric density[edit  edit source]
Temperature and mass density against altitude from the NRLMSISE00 standard atmosphere model shows nearly exponential dependence of density.
See also[edit  edit source]

References[edit  edit source]
 ↑ Mechtly, E. A., 1973: The International System of Units, Physical Constants and Conversion Factors. NASA SP7012, Second Revision, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, D.C.
 ↑ ^{2.0} ^{2.1} U.S. Standard Atmosphere, 1976, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1976. (Linked file is very large.)
 ↑ The Mass of the Atmosphere: A Constraint on Global Analyses
 ↑ Lutgens, Frederick K. and Edward J. Tarbuck (1995) The Atmosphere, Prentice Hall, 6th ed., pp1417, ISBN 0133506126