AP Environmental Science : Atmospheric Organization

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Environmental Science

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Atmosphere

The layer of the Earth's atmosphere in which weather takes place:

Possible Answers:

thermosphere

stratosphere

mesosphere

magnetosphere

troposphere

Correct answer:

troposphere

Explanation:

The troposphere contains the majority of the atmosphere's water vapor, and is thus the layer in which weather occurs.

Example Question #2 : Atmosphere

Which layer of the atmosphere contains the ozone layer?

Possible Answers:

Mesosphere

Thermosphere

Stratosphere

Trophosphere

Exosphere

Correct answer:

Stratosphere

Explanation:

The ozone layer is contained in the stratosphere, protecting life in the trophosphere from harmful cosmic radiation.

Example Question #3 : Atmosphere

 

Which of the following would NOT be a likely consequence of excessive greenhouse gases in the atmosphere?

Possible Answers:

The depletion of the ozone layer (if the greenhouse gases were of a certain type)

An increase in the amount of heat energy from the sun entering Earth's atmosphere 

Potential changes in weather patterns and climate

Increased acidification of Earth's oceans

An increase in the amount of heat energy retained on the Earth's surface and in the atmosphere

Correct answer:

An increase in the amount of heat energy from the sun entering Earth's atmosphere 

Explanation:

Greenhouse gases cause heat rays from the sun that hit Earth to be retained on the planet's surface, which raises temperatures and has a potential to change climates. Excess carbon in the atmosphere is absorbed largely by the planet's oceans, which results in acidification. Chlorofluorocarbons (or CFCs) are potent greenhouse gases that also deplete ozone. The greenhouse effect does not result in an increase in heat energy entering earth, but actually retains the heat already entering earth at a higher rate than normal.

Example Question #4 : Atmosphere

 

What can we say about the temperature changes in the troposphere with respect to altitude?

Possible Answers:

The troposphere decreases in temperature as altitude increases because air particles are less dense as altitude increases.

The troposphere is where all the heat energy is retained, and cyclical air currents make the overall temperature pretty consistent in this thin layer of the atmosphere.

The troposphere increases in temperature as altitude increases because hot air rises.

The troposphere decreases in temperature as altitude decreases because hot air gets trapped in the thermosphere.

Temperature changes based on altitude are relatively insignificant, at least in the troposphere.

Correct answer:

The troposphere decreases in temperature as altitude increases because air particles are less dense as altitude increases.

Explanation:

While hot air does rise over colder air, density of air particles is more the determining factor for temperature change in the atmosphere. Heat energy is retained better at lower altitudes because there is a greater density of air particles, resulting in greater insulative properties than at higher altitudes, where air particle density is much less.

Example Question #5 : Atmosphere

Which of the following are parts of the Earth's atmospheric layers?

Possible Answers:

All of these

Troposphere and stratosphere

Mesosphere and thermosphere 

Exosphere

Correct answer:

All of these

Explanation:

The following mnemonic device may be useful to remember the earth’s atmospheric layers in order: The Silly Monkeys Twirled Endlessly (Troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, and exosphere). All of the choices are part of the earth’s atmospheric layers. 

Example Question #6 : Atmosphere

In which part of the atmosphere does the aurora borealis take place?

Possible Answers:

Troposphere

Stratosphere

Hydrosphere

Mesosphere

Thermosphere

Correct answer:

Thermosphere

Explanation:

Since the aurora borealis is caused by electrons from the Sun striking against oxygen atoms in the the highest level of the atmosphere, it must occur in the thermosphere (also known as the ionosphere). The thermosphere extends up to 60 miles or even higher.

Example Question #1 : Atmosphere

Which layer of the atmosphere contains the ozone layer? 

Possible Answers:

The ionosphere

The exosphere 

The troposphere 

The stratosphere 

Correct answer:

The stratosphere 

Explanation:

The stratosphere contains the most concentrated amount of ozone in any layer of the atmosphere, and is found at the bottom towards the troposphere. The troposphere is where weather occurs and sustains life on Earth. The ionosphere contains atoms stripped of their electrons, and the exosphere is the part of the atmosphere that bleeds into space. 

Example Question #1 : Atmospheric Organization

Which layer of the atmosphere do our rain clouds reside within?

Possible Answers:

Troposphere

Thermosphere

Mesosphere

Stratosphere

Correct answer:

Troposphere

Explanation:

The correct response is troposphere. This is the lowest part of the atmosphere where our weather patterns and rain clouds reside. 

Example Question #9 : Atmosphere

What layer of the atmosphere does the majority of the ozone layer reside within?

Possible Answers:

Troposphere

Stratosphere

Tropopause

Thermosphere

Correct answer:

Stratosphere

Explanation:

The correct response is stratosphere. Over 90% of the ozone layer is found in the stratosphere. 

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