- Of what two gases was Earth’s first atmosphere primarily composed?
diatomic nitrogen, carbon dioxide
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- What are the percentages of Earth’s three most abundant constant (non-variable) gases in the atmosphere?
nitrogen (78.08%), diatomic oxygen (20.95%), argon (0.93%)
- What are the variable gas within Earth’s atmosphere?
water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, hydrogen, nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide,
ozone, fluorocarbon 12
- According to the faint young Sun paradox, what percent of the energy did the early Sun output compared to its output today?
25% – 30% less
- What is the average environmental lapse rate in the troposphere in Celsius degrees per kilometer?
- Which atmospheric layer is sometimes referred to as the “weather sphere”?
- Why do temperatures increase with height in the stratosphere?
(temperature inversion) the absorption of UV radiation from the sun by ozone
- What is the peak energy wavelength emitted by the Sun?
visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum (0.4μm to 0.7μm)
- Depletion of which gas in the stratosphere leads to increased amounts of UV radiation striking the surface of the Earth?
- Which layer of Earth’s atmosphere is coldest and extends to about 80 km?
- In which layers of the atmosphere does the temperature generally decrease with height?
- What are the boundaries between layers following in Earth’s atmosphere called?
tropopause, stratospause, mesopause
- What is the most abundant gas in the atmosphere?
- What is the process by which carbon dioxide reenters the atmosphere after having been tied up in organic matter known as?
- What atmospheric characteristic is directly related to the maximum amount of water vapor that may exist in the atmosphere?
- What is the absorption of energy radiated by Earth and reemission of some portion of that energy back downward to Earth is known?
- What are the oxygen-intolerant microbes of the early Earth that may have created an early greenhouse effect by releasing CH4 known as?
- What gases are the released through the process of volcanic outgassing?
diatomic nitrogen, carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, sulfur
- What do plants extract and release from the atmosphere when they perform photosynthesis?
plants extract carbon dioxide and release oxygen during photosynthesis
- Is there evidence for widespread glaciations on the early (first billion years) Earth?
little to no credible evidence
- In which layer of Earth’s atmosphere does most of Earth’s weather occurs?
- The Earth’s atmosphere has always contained oxygen.
False – little to no oxygen was found in Earth’s early atmosphere
- Do oceans act as a sink for carbon dioxide?
- Below what altitude does seventy-five percent of Earth’s atmosphere lie?
8km – 20km
- Could greenhouse gases have helped early Earth’s atmosphere remain relatively warm despite a reduction in solar output?
- What is a temperature inversion?
Any situation in which the temperature of the static atmosphere increases as height increases.
- What has been the primary source of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere for the past several million years?
- Do carbon dioxide concentrations within Earth’s atmosphere remain steady throughout the year?
- Have carbon dioxide concentrations risen linearly over the past 1000 years?
no – carbon dioxide concentrations have risen exponentially
- What are aerosols?
solid and liquid particles suspended above the surface that are too tiny for gravity
- What do prokaryotes release to the atmosphere in the process of respiration?
- Are eukaryotes more complicated organisms than prokaryotes?
- Variable gases may make up as much as what percent of the mass of the atmosphere? (Hint: Add all ppm values in Table 2.2. Note that 1% = 10,000 ppm).
- Is most of the radiant energy from the Sun classified as shortwave or longwave radiation?
- What atmospheric characteristic is used to demarcate the four distinct layers of Earth’s
the increase or decrease in temperature with height
- When a temperature inversion occurs, how does temperature change with height?
temperature increases with height
- At what wavelength (in micrometers) does the Sun emit most of its energy?
- How does the density of a gas change as its temperature changes?
Charles Law: density decreases as temperature increases (if pressure remains constant)
- What holds Earth’s atmosphere close to its surface?
- When is the universe believed to have begun?
13.8 billion years ago
- What is incoming solar radiation called?
- What is the time series of atmospheric carbon dioxide measured directly since 1957 known as?
the Keeling Curve
- What is the balance between downward-directed gravity and upward-directed buoyancy called?
- What law equates force with the product of mass and acceleration?
Newton’s Second Law of Motion
- What law explains that energy moves from areas of higher concentration to areas of lower concentration.
the second law of thermodynamics
- What is the process of converting lighter elements into heavier elements called?
- In which atmospheric layer does the ozone layer exist?
- Which layer contains 75% of the mass of the atmosphere?
- Which layer largely conforms to the heterosphere?
- Which layer captures charged particles from the Sun that form the aurora borealis and aurora australis?