Slide 6: The atmosphere I: vertical structure
The roles of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has already been discussed in Chapter 1.
The lowest level of the atmosphere (the troposphere) is where the majority of weather processes take place, since it contains 75% of the gases and almost all water vapour and aerosols. (Barry & Chorley,1992)
The tropopause is an inversion layer, which marks the upper limit of the troposphere.
Above this, the stratosphere increases in temperature due to absorption of UV radiation by the ozone layer.
The stratosphere is very stable as a consequence, and not subject to the sort of turbulence and weather variations of the troposphere.
The atmosphere above this level is mostly irrelevant in terms of weather, since it is extremely rarified (only 0.01% of the atmosphere lies above the stratopause)
The action and feedbacks associated with clouds are still poorly understood, and only recently have models begun to incorporate cloud cover in any comprehensive detail.
Barry, R.G. & Chorley, R.J., 1992. Atmosphere, Weather & Climate, 6th edn. Routledge, London. 392pp.