Composition Of The Atmosphere

1 Primary gases

Air is a mechanical mixture of gases, not a chemical compound. Dry air, by volume, is more than 99 per cent composed of nitrogen and oxygen (Table 2.1). Rocket observations show that these gases are mixed in remarkably constant proportions up to about 100 km altitude. Yet, despite their predominance, these gases are of little climatic importance.

Table 2.1 Average composition of the dry atmosphere below 25 km.

Component

Nitrogen

Oxygen

*tArgon

Carbon dioxide tNeon

*tHelium fOzone

Hydrogen tKrypton tXenon

§Methane

Symbol

N2 O2 Ar CO Ne He O H Kr Xe CH

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