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Distribution of molecules throughout the atmosphere

  1. May 27, 2012 #1
    Hi I was wondering if anyone knows about how molecules are distributed throughout various layers of the atmosphere.

    My assumption is that most molecules would be more abundant in the troposphere and decrease throughout until the mesosphere.

    does anyone know a little more about this or any links I can't seem to find what I'm looking for on the net.

    Im interested in the greenhouse gas molecules (CO2, H2O, CH4, N2O) how are they distributed throughout the various layers?

    I know water vapour is more abundant near water obviously but I'm more concerned with longitudinal ratios etc.

    again any links would be great because I have to reference it, and ratios between each layer would be good thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 27, 2012 #2

    Simon Bridge

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  4. May 27, 2012 #3
  5. May 27, 2012 #4
    Not really what I am looking for actually it does not have any distrubution levels of GHG's throughout the atmosphere all I could find was a temp v. latitude graph (interesting) but I am more needing a (CO2 vs latitude) graph or even better one for all GHG's.

    Thank's anyway
  6. May 27, 2012 #5

    Simon Bridge

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    That's right - I was presenting it as an example of the sort of thing you need to look for and how to phrase your searches. It is not the end of your search. You can use the information in the pdf to help you understand your querie and so refine your search-terms... do not expect to find all the info you want in one place or in a form that is just right for what you want. The pdf includes a "further reading" example as well.

    Note - there is a difference between "latitude" and altitude".
  7. May 27, 2012 #6


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    Search for homosphere, heterosphere, turbopause. From my reading, it's all pretty evenly mixed up to 100km (H2O excepted, I'm sure).
  8. May 29, 2012 #7
    Ok thanks.
  9. May 29, 2012 #8

    D H

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    Yep. The turbopause marks the altitude at which the atmosphere transitions from behaving like a classical gas to behaving like a bunch of weakly-interacting free particles with very large mean free paths.

    H2O excepted, of course. Note that due to its abundance compared to other greenhouse gases, water is the most potent greenhouse gas of all. Another exception is O3, which is also a greenhouse gas. Ozone exists primarily in the stratosphere due to sunlight and near the Earth's surface largely due to human pollution.
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