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VERTICAL DISTRIBUTION

Earth’s atmosphere is divided into layers or zones according to various distinguishing features. (See fig. 1-4-1.) The temperatures shown here are generally based on the latest "U.S. Extension to the ICAO Standard Atmosphere" and are repre-sentative of mid-latitude conditions. The ex- tension shown in the insert is speculative. These divisions are for reference of thermal structure (lapse rates) or other significant features and are not intended to imply that these layers or zones are independent domains. Earth is surrounded by one atmosphere, not by a number of sub- atmospheres. 

Layers of the Atmosphere 

The layers and zones are discussed under two separate classifications. One is the METEORO- LOGICAL classification that defines zones according to their significance for the weather.


Figure 1-4-1.—Earth’s atmosphere.

The other is the ELECTRICAL classification that defines zones according to electrical characteristics of gases of the atmosphere.

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