The atmosphere of Earth is a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth that is retained by Earth's gravity. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention , and reducing temperature extremes between day and night...
. It contains approximately 80% of the atmosphere
An atmosphere is a layer of gases that may surround a material body of sufficient mass, and that is held in place by the gravity of the body. An atmosphere may be retained for a longer duration, if the gravity is high and the atmosphere's temperature is low...
Mass can be defined as a quantitive measure of the resistance an object has to change in its velocity.In physics, mass commonly refers to any of the following three properties of matter, which have been shown experimentally to be equivalent:...
and 99% of its water vapor
Water vapor or water vapour , also aqueous vapor, is the gas phase of water. It is one state of water within the hydrosphere. Water vapor can be produced from the evaporation or boiling of liquid water or from the sublimation of ice. Under typical atmospheric conditions, water vapor is continuously...
The average depth of the troposphere is approximately 17 km (10.6 mi) in the middle latitudes. It is deeper in the tropics
The tropics is a region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. It is limited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere at approximately N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere at S; these latitudes correspond to the axial tilt of the Earth...
, up to 20 km (12.4 mi), and shallower near the polar regions, at 7 km (4.3 mi) in summer, and indistinct in winter. The lowest part of the troposphere, where friction
Friction is the force resisting the relative motion of solid surfaces, fluid layers, and/or material elements sliding against each other. There are several types of friction:...
with the Earth's surface influences air flow, is the planetary boundary layer
Planetary boundary layer
The planetary boundary layer , also known as the atmospheric boundary layer , is the lowest part of the atmosphere and its behavior is directly influenced by its contact with a planetary surface. On Earth it usually responds to changes in surface forcing in an hour or less...