Layered structure of Earth's atmosphere as viewed from space

Layers of the Atmosphere

Can’t name the layers of the atmosphere? No problem! We are here to help you learn about the Earth’s atmosphere and how it helps make life possible.


What Is the Atmosphere?

The atmosphere is a mixture of gases that surrounds the planet. Without the atmosphere, life on Earth wouldn't be possible.

Layers of Earth's Atmosphere

Layers of Earth's atmosphere: troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere and exosphere.

The Appearance of the Sky

The Appearance of the Sky

Exploring the Atmosphere with Dropsondes

Sondes are instrument packages that measure temperature, wind, humidity and pressure. Sondes are launched on balloons and dropped from aircraft.

The Ozone Layer

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.

Exploring the Atmosphere with Weather Balloons

Weather balloons carry instruments high in the atmosphere to measure wind, temperature, and humidity.

The History of Atmospheric Discovery

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.

Discovering the Culprits Causing Ozone Holes

A dangerous ozone hole started forming over Antarctica in the mid-1970s. But why? Learn how scientists found the pollutants that were destroying ozone inside unusual clouds and how the world took action to save the ozone layer which protects all life on Earth.