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Lower Atmosphere
1. Extension and composition
- vertical
- horizontal
- components
* Worksheet 1
* Worksheet 2
2. Greenhouse, light & biosphere
3. Ozone and nitrogen oxides



Lower Atmosphere


1. Air and temperature

Worksheet 1




The experiments (E) below will give you an impression of the dynamics of different tempered air. They could be regarded as a model of the vertical structure of the troposphere up to the stratosphere.  The different tasks (T) will help you to get understandable results.

You need these things for the experiments:





incense sticks
ice (crashed ice)
salt (NaCl)
play dough
glas tube (langitude  1m; diameter  2,5-3 cm )
stand material and fitting connection material
plastic bag (1-2L volume)
binding wire
lighter or matches
hair dryer
aluminium foil or watch glass


  • E1

Ignite an incense stick. Make sure, that no draft affect the smoke you observe.

  • T1

In which direction does the plume go? 

  • T2

In which way does the plume change it's appearance from the source to some distance?

  • T3

Look at the chapter: "Lower atmosphere / basics / 1. Troposphere... / - vertical". Which phenomenon is demonstrated in this experiment by the smoke of the incense sticks?

© 2003 M.Seesing

  • E2

Cut off a 2-3cm long piece of an incense stick. Put it into some playing dough in such a way, that it can stand upright. Fix the glass tube upright into the stand. Ignite the prepared incense stick. Put it into the glass tube. Make sure that a little air gap is between the tube and the retort stand base or the table. Observe the smoke. (It is useful to look along the tube upwards.)

  • T4

 In which way does the smoke in the tube behave?


© 2003 M.Seesing


  •  E2a

Fill a plastic bag to a third with crashed ice. Add some salt to it. Fix this with a piece of binding wire on half hight of the glass tube. With further binding wire press the ice to the tube, to cover it half at least. Cover the upside of the tube. (e.g. with aluminium foil) Prepare a incense stick like in the experiment before. Take the hair drye and heat the tube first at the upper end, that you can't touch the glass there. Than warm up the lower end in the same way. Ignite the prepared incense stick. Take the cover of the tube. Put the incense stick into the glass tube like in the experiment before. Observe the smoke.



© 2003 M.Seesing

© 2003 M.Seesing

  • T5

Describe, whow the smoke in the glass tube behaves now.

  • T6

The experiment is a model of our atmosphere. Enter beside a, b and c the names of the correspondend regions of the atmosphere. 


source: Havard University: ESP132 Lecture 3



The graph shows different temperatur profiles of the atmosphere. The profiles of three regions and two seasons are presented.

  • T7

You see one region with only one temperature profile. Explain, why is this sufficient.



The air of the atmosphere transports some substances, like in our experiment. These substances are nearly not able to pass the "cold trap". But a little bit can pass it by the time.

  • T8

Explain by the hand of the graph, when and where substances may arrive most easily and most heavily higher regions.



About this page:
Authors: M. Seesing, M. Tausch - Universitšt Duisburg-Essen, Duisburg / Germany
Last update: 2004-05-13



last updated 09.07.2005 11:17:12 | © ESPERE-ENC 2003 - 2013