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The Atmosphere

The atmosphere

The atmosphere

  • Exhibition Text

    • The atmosphere is an envelope of gases that surrounds the Earth and is held there by gravity. It is the air that all land creatures breathe, it moderates temperature and transports heat and water, and it filters out the Sun’s deadly ultraviolet radiation. While 99 percent of the Earth’s atmosphere is made up of just two gases — nitrogen and oxygen — it is the trace gases, primarily water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane, that trap the Sun’s energy and keep the Earth warm.

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  • For Educators

    • Topic: Earth Science

      Subtopic: Atmosphere

      Audience: General

In This Section

Global Warming

Global warming

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased due to the extensive burning of fossil fuels, which started with the industrial revolution around 1850.

How Do the Winds Circulate?

How do the winds circulate?

Wind circulation is powered by the Sun’s uneven heating of the Earth’s surface, and by the Earth’s rotation.

Ozone: A Stratosphere Story

Ozone: a stratosphere story

At the Earth’s surface, ozone is a pollutant, but its presence in the stratosphere is critical in protecting life.

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