Ans. Air pressure is defined as the pressure exerted by the weight of air on the earth’s surface. As we go up the layers of atmosphere, the pressure falls rapidly. The air pressure is highest at sea level and decreases with height. Horizontally the distribution of air pressure is influenced by temperature of air at a given place. In areas where temperature is high the air gets heated and rises. This creates a low-pressure area. Low pressure is associated with cloudy skies and wet weather.
Ans. Winds can be broadly divided into three types.
1. Permanent winds – The trade winds, westerlies and easterlies are the permanent winds. These blow constantly throughout the year in a particular direction.
2. Seasonal winds – These winds change their direction in different seasons. For example: monsoons in India.
3. Local winds – These blow only during a particular period of the day or year in a small area. For example: land and sea breeze and loo.
Ans. Oxygen is the second most plentiful gas in the air. Humans and animals take oxygen from the air as they breathe. Green plants produce oxygen during photosynthesis. In this way oxygen content in the air remains constant. If we cut trees then this balance gets disturbed. Carbon dioxide is another important gas. Green plants use carbon dioxide to make their food and release oxygen. Humans or animals release carbon dioxide. The amount of carbon dioxide released by humans or animals seems to be equal to the amount used by the plants which make a perfect balance. However, the balance is upset by burning of fuels, such as coal and oil. They add billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. As a result, the increased volume of carbon dioxide is affecting the earth’s weather and climate.
Ans. Our atmosphere is divided into five layers starting from the earth’s surface
Troposphere: This layer is the most important layer of the atmosphere. Its average height is 13 km. The air we breathe exists here. Almost all the weather phenomena like rainfall, fog and hailstorm occur in this layer.
Stratosphere: Above the troposphere lies the stratosphere. It extends up to a height of 50 km. This layer is almost free from clouds and associated weather phenomenon, making conditions most ideal for flying aeroplanes.
One important feature of stratosphere is that it contains a layer of ozone gas which protects us from the harmful effect of the sun rays.
Mesosphere: This is the third layer of the atmosphere. It lies above the stratosphere. It extends up to the height of 80 km. Meteorites burn up in this layer on entering from the space.
Thermosphere: In thermosphere temperature rises very rapidly with increasing height. Ionosphere is a part of this layer. It extends between 80 400 km. This layer helps in radio transmission. In fact, radio waves transmitted from the earth are reflected back to the earth by this layer.
Exosphere: The upper most layer of the atmosphere is known as exosphere. This layer has very thin air. Light gases like helium and hydrogen float into the space from here.
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