“Strat” means layer. This layer of our atmosphere has its own set of layers. There are no storms or turbulence here to mix up the air, so cold, heavy air is at the bottom and warm, light air is at the top. That’s the opposite of how the layers work in the troposphere, where we live. If you were to climb a mountain in the stratosphere you would have to take off your warm clothes as you got closer to the top rather than putting them on like we usually do. But there are no mountains high enough to reach the stratosphere, so you don’t have to worry about that.
This layer is 22 miles (35 kilometers) thick. The stratosphere is where you’ll find the very important ozone layer. The ozone layer helps protect us from ultraviolet radiation (UV) from the sun. In fact, the ozone layer absorbs most of the UV radiation the sun sends to us. Life as we know it wouldn’t be possible without this layer of protection.
Launched in 1998, NASA Space Place’s mission is to inspire and enrich upper-elementary-aged kids’ learning of space and Earth science online through fun games, hands-on activities, informative articles and engaging short videos.
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