Below the ionosphere is the very important stratosphere, which extends
from about 7 miles to about 50 miles [11.26 to 80.4 km] above us. This
is where the ozone layer is found. Without that blanket of ozone,
ultraviolet rays from the sun would quickly destroy all life on earth.
This is also the highest warming layer of the atmosphere. As the sun's
rays strike the ozone, it warms it. The ozone layer helps warm the
entire planet. It is about 12 to 21 miles [19.3 to 33.8 km] up, and the
warm layer is just above it. Below the ozone layer, the stratosphere is
cold (about 67°F (55°] over the U.S.), but without the ozone layer it
would be far colder! The upper stratospherein the warm layer about 30
miles [48 km] above the ground,the temperature is about 30oF [1 °C].
The troposphere is of extreme importance, for this is where the clouds
are,and where our rain comes from. This region extends from the surface
up to about 7 miles [11.26 km], but varies with weather conditions.
Every thousand feet [3,048 dm] you go upward through the troposphere,
the temperature drops about 34°F. The troposphere is the region where
weather occurs; above it there are neither clouds nor storms. Above the
north and south poles, it ends about 5 miles [8 km] up; above the
equator, it ends about 10 miles [16 km] above the earth's surface.
Air helps to make soil because it contains oxygen, carbon dioxide,
nitrogen, and moisture. The oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water combine
with the chemical elements in the rocks. Along with plant, wind, and
water action, this causes the rocks to decay and break down into small
Without air, plants would quickly die. Air is absorbed and used
throughout the plant. Without air in the soil a plant cannot survive.
Even the Florida cypress (one of only two trees in the world which can
have its roots permanently submerged) grows "knobs" which stick above
the surface of the swamp in order to take in air.
Human beings would also die without that air. All the cells in our
bodies must have oxygen. They use it to change food into energy. When
you breathe, air enters your lungs. The blood stream takes oxygen from
the air in the lungs and carries it to all parts of your body. Fresh air
also makes us feel more comfortable, for it removes the warm, damp
blanket of air next to our skin. People who work in the open air, or who
know to keep their houses properly ventilated are much healthier and
Like every part of this world, our atmosphere was ever so carefully
designed for the needs of the living things upon the earth. If any part
of it was changed very much, life on earth would be impossible. And yet
many would have you to believe that all this was simply an accident.