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An Introduction to Physical Science
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Chapter 19 / Exercise 8
An Introduction to Physical Science
Shipman/Wilson
Expert Verified
www.ck12.orgChapter 15.HS Earth’s AtmosphereCHAPTER15HS Earth’s AtmosphereChapter Outline15.1THEATMOSPHERE15.2ATMOSPHERICLAYERS15.3ENERGY IN THEATMOSPHERE15.4AIRMOVEMENT15.5REFERENCESAstronauts took this photo of the Moon barely visible above Earth’s atmosphere. Earth’s blue halo appears becausethe atmosphere scatters blue light more than other wavelengths. At the top of the atmosphere, gases become so thinthat they just cease to exist and then there is nothing but empty space. Since there is no easy way to define the topof the atmosphere, scientists say that it is 100 km above Earth’s surface. At that location, solar energy enters theEarth system mostly as visible light. Energy as reflected light and heat leave the Earth system there. If averageglobal temperature remains the same, the incoming and outgoing energy are equal. If more energy is coming in thangoing out, global temperatures increase. If more energy is going out than coming in, global temperatures decrease.Increases or decreases in greenhouse gases can change this energy balance. Clouds appear in Earth’s atmospherewhere there is water vapor. Clouds, along with snow and ice, reflect sunlight and play an important role in globalclimate. Where clouds reflect light back into space, they reduce the energy in the atmosphere. But water vapor is agreenhouse gas, so clouds can also trap heat. Scientists are interested in the effects of clouds on Earth’s heat balance.Courtesy o f NASA0s Earth Observatory.earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=7373.Public Domain.485
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An Introduction to Physical Science
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Chapter 19 / Exercise 8
An Introduction to Physical Science
Shipman/Wilson
Expert Verified
15.1. The Atmospherewww.ck12.org15.1The AtmosphereLesson Objectives• Describe the importance of the atmosphere to our planet and its life.• Outline the role of the atmosphere in the water cycle.• List the major components of the atmosphere and know their functions.• Describe how atmospheric pressure changes with altitude.Vocabulary• air pressure• altitude• atmosphere• greenhouse gas• humidity• ozone• respiration• ultraviolet (UV) radiation• water vapor• weatherIntroductionEarth’s atmosphere is a thin blanket of gases and tiny particles —together called air. We are most aware of air whenit moves and creates wind. All living things need some of the gases in air for life support. Without an atmosphere,Earth would likely be just another lifeless rock.Significance of the AtmosphereEarth’s atmosphere, along with the abundant liquid water at Earth’s surface, are the keys to our planet’s unique placein the solar system. Much of what makes Earth exceptional depends on the atmosphere. Let’s consider some of thereasons we are lucky to have an atmosphere.Atmospheric Gases Are Indispensable for Life on EarthWithout the atmosphere, Earth would look a lot more like the Moon. Atmospheric gases, especially carbon dioxide(CO2) and oxygen (O2), are extremely important for living organisms. How does the atmosphere make life possible?

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