A gaseous envelope gravitationally bound to a celestial body; in the case of the Earth, with an average composition, by volume, of 79% nitrogen, 20% oxygen, 0.03% carbon dioxide, and traces of rare gases. This surprisingly uniform composition is achieved by convection in the turbosphere and by diffusion above it, especially above 100 km, where diffusion is rapid in the thin atmosphere, and stirring is weak. Also present are atmospheric moisture, ammonia, ozone, and salts and solid particles. The atmosphere is commonly divided into the troposphere, the stratosphere, and the ionosphere. Since the troposphere contains the majority of the atmospheric mass, and virtually all of the atmospheric water vapour, most weather events occur within it.
Subjects: Meteorology and Climatology.