Earth's Atmosphere

Earth's atmosphere is a thin layer of gases that hover above our planet's surface. The atmosphere provides us with oxygen to breathe, shelters us from solar UV radiation, and warms Earth's surface via the greenhouse effect.

Layers of Earth's Atmosphere
Layers of Earth's atmosphere: troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere and exosphere.
Global Electric Circuit movie

Our electric atmosphere has a lot more to it than lightning and thunderstorms. Learn about Earth's Global Electric Circuit and its connection to Space Weather.

Learn about the chemistry of ozone, where it's found in the atmosphere, and how it is both helpful and harmful to life on Earth.
view of the South Pole in October over time including ozone measurements taken in the past in 1971 and 2017 and model projections of ozone over the area for 2041 and 2065.

Near the ground, ozone is an air pollutant that causes lung damage and asthma attacks. But 10 to 30 miles above the Earth’s surface (16-48 km), ozone molecules protect life on Earth. They help shield our planet from harmful solar radiation.

Air pollution, such as those from burning fossil fuels, impacts our health.
Because of human activities like heating/cooling and motorized transportation, sometimes harmful substances are released into the atmosphere. These noxious gases and chemicals form ground-level ozone and particulate matter, two major component of air pollution.
Atmosphere Activities
Educational activities about properties of the atmosphere, including pressure, air quality and pollution, atmospheric chemistry, and more!
How does the atmosphere change at you go up high in the sky?
Atmosphere games
Test your knowledge with one of our games or gain a deeper understanding of the atmosphere through a simulation.
A person and a weather balloon

Videos about aspects of the atmosphere and the tools and techniques used to study it.

The orange and blue layer of the atmosphere

Photos, diagrams, and other images related to the atmosphere, including atmospheric chemistry.