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.
About Ozone
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.
The ozone layer, in the stratosphere, is where about 90% of the ozone in the Earth system is found. But ozone makes up only one to ten out of every million molecules in the ozone layer. There isn't much of it, but ozone is powerful, able to block the most harmful radiation.
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.

History of Discovery of the Atmosphere
This web series tells the story of the lengths people went to in order to explore the atmosphere and the technologies they used to get high in the sky and make measurements. You'll learn about people who climbed mountains carrying an enormous barometers and people who passed out from freezing temperatures and and lack of oxygen as they took measurements of the air several miles high.
Aerial view of the Andes mountain range
How does the atmosphere change at you go up high in the sky?
Atmosphere Image Gallery

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

Atmosphere Videos

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

atmosphere games and simulations
Test your knowledge with one of our games or gain a deeper understanding of the atmosphere through a simulation.
Layers of the Atmosphere Activities
Revised description: Have students explore how the atmosphere changes with altitude in terms of air temperature, pressure, and atmospheric phenomena and learn the physics of air pressure.