The atmosphere is made up of several layers of gases surrounding the
Earth’s surface. The thickness of the atmosphere is as thin as the skin on an
apple (if you think of Earth as an apple). The atmosphere contains all the
gases which make up air. It plays a role in photosynthesis, respiration, heat
retention, U.V. protection, and weather.
You are going to produce a diagram of the atmospheric layers. These
layers will be proportional, in thickness, to each other.
Exosphere 500 – ??? km
Thermosphere 80 – 500 km
Mesosphere 50 – 80 km SCALE 1 mm = 2 km
Stratosphere 16 – 50 km
Tropopause 12 – 16 km
Troposphere 0 – 12 km
1. Start with a new sheet of looseleaf and draw a line across the bottom of
the page, 10 mm up from the bottom. Underneath the line write “Earth’s
2. Use the above distances for each layer, and the scale, to draw a line
across your page to divide the atmosphere into each layer.
3. Label each layer in the middle of its space. Include the distances as well.
Answer the following questions on the back of your looseleaf.
1. For the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere and thermosphere, read pg.
372 and describe what occurs in each layer and/or what might be found
in each layer.
2. Comment on the thickness of the layers relative to one another.
3. Comment on the temperature changes within the first 50 km of the
atmosphere (Fig. 15.1 )
4. Is an atmospheric layer always the same thickness all around the earth?
(is a layer thicker or thinner over the poles/equator?) Explain.
(research your answer)