Monday, October 8, 2012

Understanding of Stratosphere!

The Stratosphere is the second major layer of Earth's atmosphere, just above the troposphere, and below the mesosphere. It is stratified in temperature, with warmer layers higher up and cooler layers farther down. This is in contrast to the troposphere near the Earth's surface, which is cooler higher up and warmer farther down. The border of the troposphere and stratosphere, the tropopause, is marked by where this inversion begins, which in terms of atmospheric thermodynamics is the equilibrium level. The stratosphere is situated between about 10 km (6 mi) and 50 km (30 mi) altitude above the surface at moderate latitudes, while at the poles it starts at about 8 km (5 mi) altitude.

It is an inhospitable environment for any living creature. Without a space suit, a person’s body is exposed to a vacuum environment and he will be dead in 14 secs. 


 Normally the atmosphere cools a few degrees with a rise in altitude. Flying a jet at about 35,000 ft is typically where temperatures drop off dramatically to -50F or even -70F degrees.

The cooling trend slows down as you enter the initial layer of the stratosphere, which is never at an exact altitude. The stratosphere just like any layer of the atmosphere starts and stops at various heights depending on where you are on the planet. These layers are temperature dependent. So Bobby McGee at the equator will give a report on the altitude of the stratosphere which will differ from Jenny McGoo's report because she lives at the North Pole. These variations change with the seasons too.

So the reason the temperature actually increases as you climb through the stratosphere is due to the ozone layer. Ozone molecules absorb energy and give heat back to the stratosphere. Still, it's very cold: 0 to -10F degrees.


1 comment:

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