Encyclopedia > Stratosphere

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The stratosphere is that layer of Terra's atmosphere which exists from 7/17-50km, above the surface; is directly above the troposphere, directly below the mesosphere, and contains the ozone layer. Generally, jets fly just below the stratosphere. Within this layer, temperatures increases as altitude increases; the top of the stratosphere has a temperature of ~285K.

The stratosphere and the stratopause stretch above the troposphere to a height of 50 km. It is a region of intense interactions among radiative, dynamical, and chemical processes, in which horizontal mixing of gaseous components proceeds much more rapidly that vertical mixing. The stratosphere is warmer than the upper troposphere, primarily because of a stratospheric ozone layer that absorbs solar ultraviolet energy.

An interesting feature of stratospheric circulation is the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO) in the tropical latitudes, which is driven by gravity waves that are convectively generated in the troposphere. The QBO induces a secondary circulation that is important for the global stratospheric transport of tracers such as ozone.

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