| What is the Earth's atmosphere made of?|
|Question Date: 2016-05-05|
The atmosphere is predominately made of
nitrogen (N2) that makes up ~78%
of the atmosphere. The other three dominant gasses
are oxygen (O2), which makes up
~21% of the atmosphere, argon (Ar) at
~0.9%, and carbon dioxide (CO2)
at ~0.04% of the
atmosphere. There are other gasses as well that
make up a really small portion of the atmosphere
(<<1%), and those areneon (Ne), helium (He),
methane (CH4), hydrogen
(H2), and krypton (Kr). Water vapor
is also present in small amounts being ~0.4% on
average and slightly higher over our oceans at
All atmospheres are made out of layers of gas
-- they divide into layers that have different
pressures and composition.
On Earth, the lowest layer is where weather
patterns occur. The air we breathe is almost
80% nitrogen and only 20% oxygen! Higher in
the atmosphere the composition is different and
there is the famous ozone layer which is very
rich in oxygen. Overall, our atmosphere is
made of nitrogen, oxygen and a very small
percentage of other gases like argon, water
vapour, carbon dioxide and helium.
Earth's atmosphere contains 78% nitrogen,
21% oxygen, 0.9% argon, and 0.03% carbon
dioxide with very small percentages of
other elements. Water vapor is also
contained in the atmosphere.
The Earth's atmosphere is made of:
About 80% nitrogen
About 20% oxygen
About 1% water vapor (depends on where in
the world you are)
About 0.04% carbon dioxide
Trace amounts of other gasses
Depending on where you are in the atmosphere,
other gasses may also be important. For example
ozone is important near the stratopause
(the boundary between the stratosphere and
mesosphere), but not on the ground.
Click Here to return to the search form.
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.