Troposphere Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Just like the Earth is made of layers, the air above our heads is also made of different layers. In this lesson, we will talk about a layer of the air above us that is very important to us: The troposphere.

The Atmosphere

Just like the ground beneath our feet is divided into layers, the air above our heads is, too.

The atmosphere is made of five layers of gases that surround the Earth, like a blanket. It starts at the ground and travels upward about 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles), and then the atmosphere stops and space begins.

Without the atmosphere, no plants or animals would be able to live. This is because the atmosphere contains all the gases we need to breathe (like oxygen), and all the gases plants need to make food (like carbon dioxide). Let's now talk about one layer of the atmosphere, the troposphere.

All the clouds in the sky (and many miles of gases above them) make up the atmosphere.

The Troposphere

The troposphere is the lowest layer of the atmosphere. In fact, you're sitting in it right now. The troposphere starts at the ground and travels upward about 10 kilometers (6 miles). Above that point, another layer of the atmosphere starts.

The troposphere is the most important to us because it is the layer we live in. We breathe oxygen from the troposphere. Weather happens in the troposphere, so we also need to thank this layer for the rain that helps us grow our food.

As you go upward in the troposphere, the temperature drops and gets colder, which is why tall mountains are snowy white on top. So be sure to carry a warm coat and gloves if you decide to climb Mount Everest!

The higher you go in the troposphere, the colder it gets.
Mountains with snow

Can We Go Above the Troposphere?

You might be wondering if it is possible for us to go above the troposphere. We can, but only with the help of special equipment, like airplanes, because it's too cold for life above the troposphere, and there's not enough oxygen to breathe.

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