Functions of the Atmosphere

len Alfred Ajibola - Sat, 28th December, 2019 @ 07:19: AM

Topics in Geography

Branches of Geography: Physical and Environmental Geography Geography Scheme of Work, SS1, First Term Geography Scheme of Work, SS1, Second Term Geography Scheme of Work, SS1, Third Term Classification | Types of Planets and their Characteristics Planets of the Solar System with their Characteristics Functions of the Atmosphere Layers of the Atmosphere Solar System in Geography Atmosphere: Composition of the Atmosphere Geography, Types and Branches of Geography Characteristics and Examples of Igneous, Sedimentary and Metamorphic Rocks

Academic Questions in Geography

Please check out our Test Your Knowledge page to see all Questions and Answers

The following are true concerning the gas planets except _____.

  • A. Neptune is an example of a gas planet

  • B. They are also referred to as jovian planets

  • C. They have rings around them

  • D. They are smaller in size when compared to earth

  • E. They are also referred to as gas giants

  • F. They are composed mainly of hydrogen and helium gas

The following are characteristics of terrestrial planets except _____.

  • A. They have rocky surfaces

  • B. Their surfaces are compact in nature

  • C. They have no rings around them

  • D. Uranus is an example of terrestrial planet

  • E. They rotate slowly around their satellites

  • F. The have few number of satellites

Planets can be classified under the following headings except _____.

  • A. Size

  • B. Shape

  • C. Mass

  • D. Time of discovery

  • E. Composition

  • F. Relative positioning to the sun

The following are branches of physiography except _____.

  • A. Oceanography

  • B. Geomorphology

  • C. Envirogeography

  • D. Paleography

  • E. Glaciology

  • F. Bio-Geography

Sedimentary rocks are formed from the following processes EXCEPT _____.

  • A. By the transformation of a protolith

  • B. By the transportation and subsequent deposition of weathered remains of pre-existing rocks

  • C. By the accumulation and lithification of detrital rocks

  • D. By their precipitation from solution

  • E. By processes resulting from biogenic activity

  • F. All of the above

The following are examples of igneous rock EXCEPT _____.

  • A. Tuff

  • B. Gneiss

  • C. Granite

  • D. Pegmatite

  • E. Gabbro

  • F. Pumice



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Functions of Atmosphere:

The atmosphere of the earth serves the following important functions:

1. Photosynthesis occurs from the presence of carbon(IV)oxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. Without carbon (IV)oxide, green plants will not be able to manufacture food.

Please read on Photosynthesis and Autotrophic Nutrition here.

2. Life is present on earth due to the presence of oxygen (O2) in the atmosphere. Oxygen is an essential element in aerobic respiration. (Aerobic means presence of oxygen).

Please read on the Basic Characteristics of Living Organisms here.

3. The ozone layer of the atmosphere helps in trapping ultraviolet radiation thereby preventing it from reaching the earth.

The part of the atmosphere containing ozone (O3) is referred to as the ozone layer.

Please read on the Layers of the Atmosphere here.

Note: In space, an astronaut will burn his or her skin if it's exposed outside the spacesuit.

4. The atmosphere is an important reservoir of water, hence making it an important factor in water cycle. This makes the atmosphere a pathway for rainfall.

Please read on the Biblical Account of Creation here.

5. The atmosphere of the earth acts as a "cloak" that aid in keeping earth's temperature moderately warm through its natural greenhouse gases like water vapour and ozone.

The greenhouse gases (water vapour and ozone) act by trapping the sun's heat directed towards the surface of the earth. It also prevents the sun's heat from escaping back into space. This process keeps the surface of the earth at a moderately warm temperature which is crucial for life.

Please read on the Composition of the Atmosphere here.

Note: Some of the planets in the solar system are scorching hot while others are unpleasantly cold. This results from a lack of greenhouse gases in these planets.

Ironically, the various activities of humans like combustion and burning are constantly adding more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere; and this generally has a negative effect on humans and animals alike.

Examples of greenhouse gases added by humans into the atmosphere include methane and carbon(IV)oxide.

The effect of excess greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will result in an increased temperature on the surface of the earth. The term global warming is associated with earth's temperature which is constantly on the rise.

6. The atmosphere has proven to be effective in the transmission of radio waves which is important in global communication.

7. The atmospheric pressure is vital for the boiling processes to occur. This implies that water boils as a result of of the atmosphere.

Boiling is the defined as the process whereby the vapour pressure of a liquid equals the atmospheric pressure.

Please read on Physical Change and Chemical Change here.

8. The atmosphere provides a source of livelihood for climatologists, meteorologist and commercial aircraft workers.

Please read on the Introduction to Geography, Types and Branches of Geography here.

9. Weather and climate are present on earth as a result of its atmosphere.

Note: As a student, it is important you comprehend how the above functions (of the atmosphere) support life.

Earth's atmosphere is extremely important for the survival of all its inhabitants.

The explanations below give credence to this fact.

When one moves further away from earth, the atmosphere becomes thinner until it disappears into the outer space. There is no atmosphere in space. For this reason, astronauts will always wear a spacesuit while carrying along their oxygen gas masks and canisters when in space.

Please read on the Solar System here.

People living on very high altitudes will likely experience a reduced amount of oxygen in the atmosphere. Such people survive because their bodily organs become adapted to survive in such conditions.

On mountain Everest for instance, mountain climbers will need to carry oxygen canisters because lesser amount of oxygen is present on this mountain.

Please read on the Red Blood Cells and Hemoglobin here.

Note: The atmospheric composition of oxygen on the moon and other planets are quite different from that of the earth. Usually, they have lesser percentage of oxygen or even no oxygen at all, thus making life incompatible on them. (Some may not even have an atmosphere to begin with). This gives a reason why earth is clearly the only planet compartible with life.

The only process in nature that actively enriches our atmosphere with oxygen is photosynthesis. Every other process like respiration, burning and combustion takes away oxygen from it. In addition, they introduce carbon(IV)oxide (CO2) into the atmosphere.

Note: Photosynthesis is also the only process that takes away carbon(IV)oxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.

Photosynthesis is the process by which green plants manufacture food by utilizing carbon(IV)oxide and water in the presence of sunlight.

Oxygen is given off as a by-product of photosynthesis. In regards to this, it is recommended that each person plants a tree.

Potentially dangerous ultraviolet radiation coming from the space is hindered by the atmosphere (through the ozone layer) from reaching the surface of the earth and that’s a good thing. This is because ultraviolet radiation is harmful to living organisms. On the other hand, the atmosphere allows the sun’s rays to reach the earth, while also preventing it from leaving the earth back into the outer space.

One fact concerning life is:

The sun is the ultimate source of energy.

Without the sun’s rays on earth, life will be non-existent.

The above facts are is in support of the 1st Law of Thermodynamics with regards to food chain.

Please read on Food Chain here.

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Alfred Ajibola is a Medical Biochemist, a passionate Academician with over 7 years of experience, a Versatile Writer, a Web Developer, a Cisco Certified Network Associate and a Cisco CyberOps Associate.

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Amazing facts in Geography

The universe has a color named cosmic latte

An earthquake is more likely to happen in Japan than any other country

Only 2 countries have the color purple in their national flag. Both countries are:

Nicaragua and Dominica

With 221,800 islands, Sweden is believed to have more islands than any other country in the world.

The shortest war in history lasted for only 38 minutes

Australia is both a country and continent and it has the highest number of reptiles in the world. (Over 750 different species of reptiles)

Earth is the only planet that contains water on it's surface. In fact, the percentage of water on Earth is greater than that of land.

Water: 71%

Land: 21%

Salt water or Saline water makes up about 97% of Earth's water. It comprises majorly of ocean and sea waters

Metal actually rains on planet Venus

Planet Mars appear brownish or reddish because it's covered with iron rust


We have 3 main types or classes of rock based on how they are formed. These are:

1. Igneous Rock


2. Sedimentary Rock


3. Metamorphic Rock


Igneous rocks are formed when molten substances below the earth surface cools down and solidifies. These molten substances are called magma or lava. Magma can be derived from melting of existing rocks on the earth crust.

The solidification of molten magma into igneous rock may be below the earth's surface (intrusive) or on the earth's surface (extrusive), giving rise to the two types of igneous rock.

  • Intrusive Igneous Rock: These are igneous rocks that crystallizes below the earth’s surface. They generally cool slowly during the process of solidification and tend to produce large crystals.

    Intrusive Igneous Rock are also referred to as Plutonic Igneous Rock. Examples are gabbro, granite and pegmatite.

  • Extrusive Igneous Rock: They are igneous rocks that form when molten magma erupts on top of the earth's surface. They cool down and solidify quickly, producing small crystals in the process.  Sometimes, the molten magma cools so quickly, allowing no time for crystals to grow. This rapid cooling results in the formation of an amorphous glass.

    Extrusive Igneous Rock are also referred to as Volcanic Igneous Rock. Examples are basalt, rhyolite and scoria.

Sedimentary rocks amount to about 76% of the earth's surface. They can be formed in different ways. These are:

  • By the deposition of the weathered remains of pre-existing rocks and their subsequent transportation and deposition. Sedimentary rocks formed in this way are known as clastic sedimentary rock.

  • By the accumulation and lithification of sediment or detrital rock.

  • By their precipitation from solution. Sedimentary rocks formed in this way are known as chemical sedimentary rock.

  • As a result of biogenic activities. Sedimentary rocks formed in this way are known as organic sedimentary rock.

Please read more on types of rocks here

Metamorphic rocks are formed from the transformation of an existing rock or original rock called protolith. The protolith may be an igneous rock or a sedimentary rock or another older metamorphic rock. Their transformation may be physical or chemical, requiring great heat and pressure.

Metamorphic rocks are always more dense and also less likely to be broken down by erosion when compared to igneous and sedimentary rocks. They make up about 12% of the earth crust and can also be formed beneath the earth surface.

Examples of metamorphic rocks are schist (a converted basalt), quartzite (a compressed sandstone), and marble (a compressed limestone or dolomite).