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Weather Forecasting Advice: Getting Acquainted With The Troposphere And The Tropopause

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The troposphere is one of the sections in which our atmosphere is conventionally divided for study and comprehension reasons. Is in this particular region that almost all living beings in the planet are found (water could be considered as some kind of atmosphere, but that's another issue), and except for some microorganisms that are being lifted upwards, there are no organisms that are able to get out of it either by their own means or by action of natural forces.

This atmospheric region has the shape of a concentric sphere, more or less, around the globe. Its thickness is variable but on average it reaches altitudes of 13 km; however, in certain areas it reaches up to 20 km but it is no be noticed that since the atmosphere is a dynamic system, these figures are neither fixed nor completely accurate. Many factors such as local temperatures, latitude and seasonal changes usually affect the shape of the troposphere.

The region is defined by its properties, starting with the fact that within it, temperatures tend to diminish with altitude at a rate of six degrees Celsius per each thousand metres that you climb.

This can't be appreciated on higher atmospheric regions because of the way in which solar energy (i.e sunlight) affects our planet: most of it reaches Earth's surface, and as it is reflected back, it dissipates thorough the troposphere. When it reaches certain heights, it has dissipated almost completely, and this is why temperature in our planet is inversely proportional to altitude.

Most atmospheric water vapour is also found in the troposphere; as a consequence of this and the stable temperatures found there, at stratospheric and higher altitudes there are almost no clouds.

Thermal variation due to day and night variations are maximum at surface level; in other words, the effect of sunlight during the day and its absence during the nigh are more marked on the surface than at any other altitude. You should not confuse this with heath, which is another thing.

The troposphere is thus divided by the kind of physical phenomena that take place near the surface. The soil is considered to be its lower limit albeit indeed there is air at some subterranean caves, mines, etc.

Its higher limit is a thin region known as the tropopause, which has some properties belonging to the troposphere and some characteristic of the stratosphere - the next layer -; the continuity, thickness and other properties of the tropopause are variable, according to tropospheric and stratospheric conditions for each given area.

Almost all weather-related phenomena on a daily basis occur within the troposphere; this is not to say that other atmospheric layers are unimportant, but it is within this lower region that short-term weather and seasonal changes are more noticeable.

Almost all living beings are unable to survive in outer space; we are in fact protected from different kinds of radiation, the lack of pressure in the void, etc. by the atmosphere, and this protection reaches its highest levels precisely at the troposphere.

The atmosphere acts as a filtering device; by contaminating it we tend to break the delicate equilibrium that exists between its different components. This not only affects the weather, but our capability of surviving in the very long term. This is why it is important to avoid unnecessary contamination.

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