Earth’s atmosphere is incredible! There are three primary layers of the atmosphere, and we live in the bottom layer called the troposphere. It extends as high as about 33,000-43,000 feet (10-13 kilometers). This layer is where we have breathable air. Above the troposphere is the stratosphere and above that is the mesosphere.
The troposphere is not only where we have air we can breathe, but it is also where we have weather and clouds. In the stratosphere, the air is not dense enough to supply us with sufficient oxygen, but it is relatively peaceful with little turbulence. In the early days of commercial airplane flight, because of turbulence in the troposphere, many people became airsick. However, planes could not fly above the troposphere because, among other problems, the low air pressure in the stratosphere would create a lack of oxygen for breathing.
That changed in the 1930’s when the Boeing company designed the first successful airplane with a pressurized cabin. They called it the “Stratoliner.” It could fly above the turbulence and still provide breathing comfort. Today commercial passenger planes fly in the lower stratosphere for cruising comfort, with pressurized cabins for breathing comfort.
When the weather on Earth becomes turbulent, we sometimes complain, but we can be thankful that the Designer of the Earth gave us a pressurized zone. With each breath we take, we should be thankful.
–Roland Earnst © 2018