Composition and Function of the Atmosphere

The atmosphere is one of the most essential elements required for the survival of life on Earth. The composition and Functions of the Atmosphere are


Composition of the Atmosphere


  • The atmosphere is made of many gases and solid particles.
  • Nitrogen and oxygen are the two major gases that are present in the atmosphere.
  • Nitrogen makes up 78% of the total volume of the atmosphere. It is essential for the survival of plants. Plants cannot directly take in nitrogen from the atmosphere. The bacteria present in the soil and roots of plants convert it to a form that can be used by plants.
  • Oxygen is the second most available gas in the air. It is also known as the life-giving gas as it is inhaled by human beings and animals and is essential for their survival.
  • Gases such as argon, carbon dioxide, and water vapour constitute the remaining one percent of the total volume of the atmosphere.
  • Carbon dioxide which is present in the atmosphere in small quantities is used by plants to make food. It absorbs the heat and keeps the Earth warm during the nights. The quantity of carbon dioxide remains constant in the atmosphere. However, its amount may increase because of the burning of fuels such as coal and oil. The increase in the level of carbon dioxide adversely affects the weather and the climate of the Earth.
  • Water vapour is added to the atmosphere by the process of evaporation and transpiration from plants. All forms of precipitation are caused by water vapour present in the atmosphere.
  • Many particles such as dust, pollen, ash produced from meteorites and smoke are also present in the atmosphere.

Functions of the Atmosphere


  • The atmosphere is one of the most essential elements required for the survival of life on the Earth.
  • Water vapour in the atmosphere causes precipitation on the Earth.
  • While oxygen present in the atmosphere is the life-giving gas on the Earth, carbon dioxide absorbs heat and keeps the Earth warm during the nights.
  • It acts as a blanket which shields the Earth from the harmful radiation of the Sun.

Also, Read Precipitation -Types and Causes