Answer: The stratosphere is the second layer of Earth’s atmosphere, lying above the troposphere and below the mesosphere.
Some extra relevant information:
The stratosphere is a layer of Earth’s atmosphere located above the troposphere and below the mesosphere. It extends from approximately 10 to 50 kilometers (6 to 31 miles) above the Earth’s surface. This layer is characterized by a stable stratification, where temperature remains relatively constant or even increases with altitude.
One of the distinct features of the stratosphere is the presence of the ozone layer, which absorbs the majority of the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This absorption process releases heat, causing the temperature to rise instead of decreasing with altitude as it does in the troposphere. Consequently, the stratosphere plays a crucial role in protecting life on Earth from excessive UV radiation.
Another significant characteristic of the stratosphere is its relatively calm and mild weather conditions. It lacks the strong vertical air movements and intense weather patterns found in the troposphere. As a result, the stratosphere offers a more stable environment for aviation purposes, leading to the location of commercial jets flying at high altitudes in this layer.
The stratosphere also provides an ideal setting for the formation of high-altitude clouds called noctilucent clouds. These shimmering, electric blue clouds form near the poles during summer months when water vapor and other particles freeze around meteoric dust at altitudes around 80 kilometers (50 miles).
Beyond its atmospheric and climatic characteristics, the stratosphere is of great interest to scientists and researchers. Studying the stratosphere helps us better understand the dynamics of our atmosphere, including the behavior of gases and particles, the effects of anthropogenic emissions, and the potential impacts on climate change.
To summarize, the stratosphere is the atmospheric layer above the troposphere, containing the ozone layer and experiencing a stable stratification of temperature. It provides a protective shield against harmful UV radiation, offers favorable conditions for aviation, forms unique high-altitude clouds, and serves as a subject of scientific exploration.