Atmosphere Web quest
1. What are the four main layers
of the atmosphere?
– Ionosphere
– Exsosphere
2. Which layer is closest to space?
• Exosphere (upper layer of the
3. Which layer is the hottest layer?
• Thermosphere (reaching temperatures of
1200 C)
4. Which layer is the coldest layer?
• Mesosphere
5. What and where are the
ionosphere and exosphere?
• Thermosphere
• Ionosphere: is the lower layer of the
thermosphere. This is where earth’s
communication is located along with the
aurora borealis.
• Exosphere: is the upper layer of the
thermosphere. Satellites are found in this
6. Draw a picture of the atmosphere…….write or draw a picture of one
important fact about each sphere. (make sure you pay attention to the spacing
of each sphere……one sphere is the smallest…….two are about the same in
size……and one is the largest).
7. Why is the atmosphere
• The atmosphere is an important part of
what makes Earth livable. It blocks some
of the Sun's dangerous rays from reaching
Earth. It traps heat, making Earth a
comfortable temperature.
8. What gases are most common in Earth’s
atmosphere? Give the percentages.
• nitrogen (78%), oxygen (21%), and other
gases (1%)
9. What is the greenhouse effect
(describe how it works)?
• Energy from the Sun that makes its way to
the Earth’s surface can have trouble
finding its way back out to space. This is
because of a natural process called the
greenhouse effect. Without the
greenhouse effect, Earth’s temperature
would be below freezing.
10. What are the main greenhouse
Carbon Dioxide
Water Vapor
Nitrous oxide
11. Describe how each of the gases
contribute to the greenhouse effect and how
do they get into our atmosphere?
• Carbon Dioxide:
• it helps trap heat coming from the Sun in
our atmosphere through the greenhouse
effect. Without carbon dioxide in our air,
the Earth would be very cold .
• Humans, animals, burning things, engines
of cars and trucks.
• Methane is a greenhouse gas. That
means it helps make Earth warm. But if
there was too much methane, that could
make our planet too warm.
• Cow burps, Farming rice, garbage dumps,
Termites, and Swamps
Nitrous Oxide
• Nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2)
Nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide molecules form
during combustion in car engines, power plants,
and factories. They can contribute to smog when
combined with oxygen molecules and the fumes
from paint and gasoline (called Volatile Organic
Compounds). They can also contribute to acid
rain if mixed with water vapor turning into nitric
acid. Nitrogen dioxide will break apart in sunlight
and the free oxygen atoms latch onto oxygen
molecules forming dangerous ground-level
12. What is air pollution?
• solid particles and chemicals in the air
13. Describe 2 types of air
pollution found in out atmosphere?
• Primary and Secondary
• Primary pollution is put directly to the air,
such as smoke and car exhausts.
Secondary pollution forms in the air when
chemical reactions changes primary
pollutants. The formation of tropospheric
ozone is an example of secondary air
14. When did air pollution begin?
(Is this just a recent development?)
• Air pollution is not new. As far back as the
13 th century, people started complaining
about coal dust and soot in the air over
London, England. Since the beginning of
the industrial revolution in the late 1700s,
we have been changing the Earth’s
atmosphere and its chemistry. As industry
spread across the globe, so did air
15. What is primary and secondary
air pollution?
• Primary pollution is put directly to the air,
such as smoke and car exhausts.
Secondary pollution forms in the air when
chemical reactions changes primary
pollutants. The formation of tropospheric
ozone is an example of secondary air
Troposphereic Ozone………
**What two places is ozone found?
• Troposphere and stratosphere
**What causes troposphereic
• In the troposphere, ozone is NOT wanted! It can
actually do a lot of damage.
• Ozone that increases because of certain human
activities does become a problem at ground
level and this is what we think of as 'bad' ozone.
With increasing populations, more automobiles,
and more industry (power plants and refineries
in particular), there's more ozone in the lower
atmosphere. Since 1900, the amount of ozone
near the Earth's surface has more than doubled.
**Is the ozone found in the
troposphere bad for us (explain)?
• Smog can damage lung tissues, impair an
athlete's performance, create more
frequent attacks for individuals with
asthma, cause eye irritation, chest pain,
coughing, nausea, headaches and chest
congestion. It can even worsen heart
disease, bronchitis, and emphysema.
**What’s the common name for
troposphereic ozone?
17. What are the global effects of
air pollution? Explain why the two
are a concern.
• Climate Change
• Warm near the equator and cold at the poles, our planet
is able to support a variety of living things because of its
diverse regional climates. The average of all these
regions makes up Earth's global climate. Climate has
cooled and warmed throughout Earth history for various
reasons. Rapid warming like we see today is unusual in
the history of our planet. The scientific consensus is that
climate is warming as a result of the addition of heattrapping greenhouse gases which are increasing
dramatically in the atmosphere as a result of human
Human Health
• People have no choice but to breathe the air
around them. When it is polluted, they breathe
in ozone, particles and harmful gases that can
hurt their lungs, heart, and overall health. Air
pollution can cause coughing, burning eyes,
and breathing problems. Fortunately, people
usually start to feel better as soon as the air
quality improves, but not always.
• Increase breathing problems in individuals with
asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.
Ozone Hole…
Explain why this is a concern.
• Ozone in the stratosphere protects us from
ultraviolet radiation in sunlight. The ozone
layer is sort of like sunscreen for planet
Earth. It absorbs most of the incoming UV
"light" before it reaches the ground.
• This is causing health problems: cancer
• Warming the Earth
What is causing the hole?
• Various chemicals that humans release
into the atmosphere help cause the hole
When did scientist discover the
ozone hole?
• 1970
• Hole was found over the poles (in the
19. What is Global Warming?
• Warming of the Earth’s climate.
20. What is the effect of global
• Earth’s climate is warming. During the
20th Century Earth’s average temperature
rose 0.6° Celsius (1.1°F). Scientists are
finding that the change in temperature has
been causing other aspects of our planet
to change
21. How has earth’s temperature
changed over the last century?
• During the 20th Century Earth’s average
temperature rose 0.6° Celsius (1.1°F).
22. List the effects of climate
change due to global warming (that
we are seeing now).
Sea Level Rising
Arctic sea ice is melting
Glacier and permafrost is melting
Sea surface temperature are warming
Heavier rainfall causing flooding in many regions
Extreme drought
Ecosystems are changing
Hurricanes more frequent and strength
More frequent heat waves
Warmer temperatures are affecting human health
Seawater is becoming more acidic
23. What do they predict will happen in
the future due to global warming and
climate change?
• There will be more global warming is in our future
according to the results of computer models summarized
by the IPCC. For the next two decades warming of about
0.2° Celsius is projected. If we continue to emit as many,
or more, greenhouse gases, this will cause more
warming during the 21st Century than we saw in the 20th
Century. During the 21st Century, various computer
models predict that Earth’s average temperature will rise
between 1.8° and 4.0° Celsius (3.2° and 7.2° F)
depending largely on how humans change the ways they
live on the planet.
24. What is acid rain, and explain the effect
it has on our environment.
• Acid rain is a general term used to describe different
kinds of acidic air pollution. Although some acidic air
pollutants return directly back to Earth, a lot of it
returns in rain, snow, sleet, hail, mist or fog, which is
why we call it acid rain
• Acid rain can have harmful impacts on the ecosystems
in the environment. It acidifies the soil and water
where it falls, damaging or killing plants and animals.
Surface water acidification can lead to a decline in,
and loss of, fish populations and other aquatic species
including frogs, snails and crayfish. Acid rain affects
trees, usually by weakening them through damage to
their leaves.