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Measuring the Atmosphere:   Temperature, Pressure and Ozone

Welcome to Hot Air Extraordinaire

The premier hot air balloon company of the West! Today youíve been invited to come on board with a bunch of scientists who are studying the Earthís atmosphere. Itís not the same at different altitudes you know! You have been assigned a job by the head scientist: Measure temperature and pressure readings as the hot air balloon rises. This lesson has three main objectives.


  • Determine the relationship between atmospheric pressure and altitude.
  • Determine the relationship between temperature and altitude.
  • Determine the location of ozone in the Earthís atmosphere.
Be careful, Do not close the activity window when you check back to this page, or else you will have to start the measuring and questions all over again. It is O.K. to close the activity window when you are done with the balloon activity.

You can refer back to the instructions page if you need to know what to do next. Or check the "Now What?" button in the activity.

Read these instructions, then you can launch the balloon.

Interactive Lab

Launch Balloon Activity
Click to Launch the Balloon

The atmospheric gases are concentrated in the lowest layer of atmosphere, the troposphere. 50% of the atmosphere lies below 5.6 km in altitude. 90% of the atmospheric gases rest within 16 km of the Earthís surface. That is why heat transfer is impeded at higher altitudes, and that is also why the atmospheric pressure decreases as one travels out into space away from the Earth.

Do you think you get it? Thatís a lot of information about the extent and structure of the atmosphere! Test yourself to see if you get the main ideas correct!

Next - Atmosphere Functions: Heating the Atmosphere


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