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UNSW : UNSW Atmosphere Study Guide
Atmosphere Study Guide 23 The technique will give rise to a whole range of new industrial processes. 1,000 2,000 km logarithmicscale 100 200 300 400 500 600 800 20 30 40 50 60 80 10 2 3 4 5 6 8 1 Radio waves are able to curve around the globe by bouncing off charged particles in the ionosphere, much like light off a mirror. Birds have been seen flying as high as the peak of Mt Everest (8.8 km). Navigational satellites such as GPS are found in mid-range orbits at between 2,000 km and 35,786 km from the surface of the Earth. Earth’s unusually high proportion of oxygen is due to photosynthetic cyanobacteria, which started releasing it 2.7 billion years ago. The International Space Station is in low Earth orbit, between 319 and 346 km above us. The cruising altitude of long-haul flights is 9–12 km above sea level. Satellites in high altitude (35,786 km), geostationary orbits stay above a fixed position on Earth. These satellites are used for broadcast and communication. Above 2.5 km, humans get altitude sickness, with symptoms of breathlessness and headaches (at higher altitudes it can cause unconsciousness or even death), due to the drop in pressure. The warmth of atmosphere (and global warming) is due to ability of CO2, water vapour and other molecules to capture and trap the heat of the Sun. The total weight of the Earth’s atmosphere is 5.14 quadrillion tonnes, or 5.14x1018 kg, according to the U.S . National Centre for Atmospheric Research. Earth is the only planet with a nitrogen atmosphere – Venus and Mars have mostly carbon dioxide. At sea level the atmosphere presses down on us with a force of 1 kg over every cm2 of our bodies. The upper atmosphere has been found to ‘breathe in and out’, expanding and contracting in response to the solar wind. Thermosphere Mesosphere Stratosphere Aurora Ice clouds Ozone layer Skydiver, 8 km Hot air balloon, 2 km Low-level clouds Mid-level clouds Cosmic rays UV rays Troposphere Explain (article one)