The Atmosphere and Weather
Extending more than 6,000 miles from the surface of our planet, the atmosphere is comprised of many layers and sublayers. In direct relation to weather, from rain to hail, we take a closer look at the troposphere.
The troposphere contains the highest mass of water vapor among all the layers of Earth’s atmosphere, and when it comes to weather, one of the largest indicators of this is precipitation. Rain, snow, sleet, and hail come as a direct result of the water cycle. Water is evaporated into a gaseous state, accumulates as water vapor in clouds, reaches a point of maximum capacity, then falls to the earth in solid or liquid form.
Given that precipitation comes from the troposphere following the order of the water cycle, this means that within this particular layer we find cloud accumulation as well. Clouds are formed by atmospheric water vapor being cooled rapidly by the wind. However, for this to happen, the air molecules need to be unable to maintain the amount of water it contains in a gaseous form. This is referred to as saturation. The two ways this can happen are through increasing water content through evaporation and by cooling the air to its dew point.
Another indicator of weather and climate that is caused by the atmospheric state is temperature. Within the troposphere, rapid temperature changes occur resulting in collisions of cool and warm air. These collisions create winds and storms. Because of the populous concentration of water vapor in this specific layer, thermal energy and solar radiation are absorbed, which regulate the temperature of the Earth.
When it comes to weather, other layers of the atmosphere have an effect as well, particularly when it comes to barometric pressure. However, from an earthly perspective, when it comes to the weather experienced on a day to day basis, the primary region that is responsible for this is the troposphere.