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The concentration of water vapor (a greenhouse gas) varies significantly from around 10 ppm by volume in the coldest portions of the atmosphere to as much as 5% by volume in hot, humid air masses, and concentrations of other atmospheric gases are typically quoted in terms of dry air (without water vapor).
among which are the greenhouse gases, principally carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone.
Layers drawn to scale, objects within the layers are not to scale.
The atmosphere of Earth protects life on Earth by creating pressure allowing for liquid water to exist on the Earth's surface, absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention (greenhouse effect), and reducing temperature extremes between day and night (the diurnal temperature variation).Excluding the exosphere, the atmosphere has four primary layers, which are the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere.The exosphere is the outermost layer of Earth's atmosphere (i.e. It extends from the exobase, which is located at the top of the thermosphere at an altitude of about 700 km above sea level, to about 10,000 km (6,200 mi; 33,000,000 ft) where it merges into the solar wind.By volume, dry air contains 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.04% carbon dioxide, and small amounts of other gases.Air also contains a variable amount of water vapor, on average around 1% at sea level, and 0.4% over the entire atmosphere.