Mesosphere

mesosphere and gases

The Earth's atmosphere is divided into different layers, each of which has a different composition and function. Let's focus on the mesosphere. The mesosphere is the third layer of Earth's atmosphere, located above the stratosphere and below the thermosphere.

In this article we are going to tell you what the mesosphere is, what is its importance, composition and characteristics.

key features

upper layers of the atmosphere

The mesosphere extends from approximately 50 kilometers to 85 kilometers above the earth. It is 35 kilometers thick. The temperature of the middle layer becomes colder as the distance to the earth increases, that is, the altitude increases. In some warmer places, its temperature can reach -5 degrees Celsius, but at other altitudes the temperature will drop to -140 degrees Celsius.

The density of gases in the mesosphere is low, they are composed of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen, and their proportions are almost the same as those of tropospheric gases. The main difference between the two layers is the density of the air in the middle layer is lower, the water vapor content is lower, and the ozone content is higher.

The mesosphere is the protective layer of the earth because it destroys most of the meteors and asteroids before they reach the earth's surface. It is the coldest layer of the atmosphere of all.

The area where the mesosphere ends and begins the thermosphere is called the mesopause; this is the area of ​​the mesosphere with the lowest temperature values. The lower limit of the mesosphere with the stratosphere is called the stratopause. This is the area where the middle layer has the lowest temperature value. Sometimes a special type of cloud forms in the middle layer near the north and south poles, called "noctilucent clouds." These clouds are strange because they form much higher than any other type of cloud.

A very strange type of lightning will also appear in the middle layer, called "goblin lightning."

Mesosphere function

layers of the atmosphere

The mesosphere is the layer of celestial rock that protects us from entering the Earth's atmosphere. Meteorites and asteroids burn due to friction with air molecules to form luminous meteorites, also known as "shooting stars." It is estimated that around 40 tons of meteorites fall to earth every day, but the middle layer can burn them up and cause surface damage before they arrive.

Like the stratospheric ozone layer, the middle layer also protects us from harmful solar radiation (ultraviolet radiation). The Northern Lights and Northern Lights occur at the medium levelThese phenomena have a high tourist and economic value in certain areas of the earth.

The mesosphere is the thinnest layer of the atmosphere, since it only contains 0,1% of the total air mass and it can reach temperatures of up to -80 degrees. Important chemical reactions occur in this layer and due to the low density of the air, various turbulences are formed that help spacecraft when they return to Earth, since they begin to notice the structure of the background winds and not only the aerodynamic brake. of the ship.

At the end of the mesosphere is the mesopause. It is the boundary layer that separates the mesosphere and the thermosphere. It is located about 85-90 km high and in it the temperature is stable and very low. Chemiluminescence and aeroluminescence reactions take place in this layer.

Importance of the mesosphere

mesosphere

The mesosphere has always been the atmosphere with the least exploration and research, because it is very high and does not allow airplanes or hot air balloons to pass, and at the same time it is too low to be suitable for artificial flights. Many satellites are orbiting in this layer of the atmosphere.

Through exploration and research using sound rockets, this layer of atmosphere has been discovered, but the durability of these devices must be very limited. However, since 2017, NASA has been committed to developing a device that can study the middle layer. This artifact is called sodium lidar (light and range detection).

The supercooling of this layer due to the low temperature above it -and other factors that affect the layers of the atmosphere- represents an indicator of how climate change is evolving. At this level there is a zonal wind characterized by the east-west direction, this element indicates the direction they follow. In addition, there are atmospheric tides and gravity waves.

It is the least dense layer in the atmosphere and you cannot breathe in it. Also, the pressure is too low, so if you're not wearing a spacesuit, your blood and body fluids will boil. It is considered mysterious because very little has been studied and because various very striking natural phenomena have occurred in it.

Noctiluscent clouds and shooting stars

In the mesosphere several very special natural phenomena occur. An example of this is noctiluscent clouds, which are characterized by an electric blue color and can be seen from the north and south poles. These clouds are created when a meteor hits the atmosphere and releases a chain of dust, the frozen water vapor from the cloud will adhere to the dust.

Noctilucent clouds or intermediate polar clouds are much higher than ordinary clouds, about 80 kilometers high, while ordinary clouds observed in the troposphere are much lower.

Shooting stars also take place in this layer of the atmosphere. They occur at the medium level and their sightings have always been highly valued by people. These "stars" are produced by the decomposition of meteorites, which are produced by friction with the air in the atmosphere and cause them to emit sparkles.

Another phenomenon that occurs in this atmosphere are the so-called elf rays. Although they were discovered in the late 1925th century and exhibited by Charles Wilson in XNUMX, its origins are still difficult to understand. These rays are usually red, appear in the mesosphere, and can be seen far from clouds. It is not yet clear what causes them, and their diameter can reach tens of kilometers.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about the mesosphere and its characteristics.


The content of the article adheres to our principles of editorial ethics. To report an error click here!.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

*

*

  1. Responsible for the data: Miguel Ángel Gatón
  2. Purpose of the data: Control SPAM, comment management.
  3. Legitimation: Your consent
  4. Communication of the data: The data will not be communicated to third parties except by legal obligation.
  5. Data storage: Database hosted by Occentus Networks (EU)
  6. Rights: At any time you can limit, recover and delete your information.