50 Interesting Facts About The Atmosphere

Last updated on July 23rd, 2021

36. On average, it takes almost 600 calories of energy to evaporate one gram of water. Moreover, when nature converts the water vapor into liquid, the same power is released into the atmosphere.

37. Did you know that water is the only naturally occurring compound that exists in three states (liquid, gas, solid) on Earth’s surface?

trade winds world map
Trade winds world map.

38. The trade winds blow in the warmest regions of the earth. It explains why most monsoons and thunderstorms stem from these volatile areas. When the trade winds are weaker, more rainfall can be expected in the nearby landmasses.

39. The Earth is continuously losing its atmosphere. Each day, about 90 tons of particles escape from the upper atmosphere into space. Nonetheless, 90 tons is a tiny leak since the earth weighs five quadrillion tons. Therefore, we are not in danger of running out of atmosphere soon.

40. During sunset, the majority of the light rays are reflected and distributed in the atmosphere making the sun appear dimmer. The color of the sun seems to alter from orange to red. The short wavelengths, blue and green, scatter more, leaving longer wavelengths of red and orange to be seen.

41. A published journal shows that the atmosphere (8-15km above sea level) contains many different microorganisms. Most of the microbes discovered in the sky resemble those in freshwater environments and oceans. Approximately 25% of the microbes were the same as those found in feces.

A lightning strike on ground
Lightning! Interesting Facts About Atmosphere. Image credit – Tydence Davis

42. A single stroke of lightning is capable of heating the surrounding area to 27,000 degrees Celsius. Lightning travels at high speed, giving the air no time to expand.

43. The rapid heating generates an explosive expansion of surrounding air, forming a shock wave of compressed atoms in all directions. Just like an explosion, the expanding waves produce a loud, booming burst of sound.

44. The air’s refractive index is slightly greater than one. The variations in the refractive index can cause the blending of light rays on long optical paths. Since the index depends on temperature, its effects rise with the upsurge in a temperature gradient—a good example is a mirage.

45. In 2012, Felix Baumgartner, an Australian skydiver, jumped from a helium balloon at the upper stratosphere. He free-fell in this low-pressure layer at a rate faster than the speed of sound. His top speed was 1,358 km per hour.

46. The terrestrial life on earth has adapted to the air pressure of one atmosphere where water boils at 100 degrees Celsius. However, as altitude increases, the air pressures lower, as so are the boiling points. At Armstrong Limit, 60,000 feet above sea level, air pressure drops that you cannot survive without a pressurized suit. At this pressure, bodily fluids will boil at an average body temperature of 37 degrees Celsius.

47. Violet color has the shortest wavelength, which means we should see the sky as purple. However, we see blue rather than purple because the human eye is more sensitive to blue light than violet.

48. During Cambrian Period, carbon dioxide levels were eleven times higher than today. The sea levels were higher, and there was no ice at the poles. Even during the period of the last dinosaurs, the CO2 levels were five times higher than currently. The world eventually cooled, welcoming the ongoing quaternary ice age.

49. The weather on the earth is formed by a pressure system in the atmosphere, making the air move, creating wind. Interestingly, changes in air pressure and temperatures set the air in motion.

The International Space Station
This image of the International Space Station and the docked space shuttle Endeavour, flying at an altitude of approximately 350 km, was taken by Expedition 27 crew member Paolo Nespoli from the Soyuz TMA-20 following its undocking on May 24, 2011. Image credit – European Space Agency

50. Most of our satellites are placed in the ionosphere, the first part of outer space. Similarly, the International Space Station is located in the ionosphere.