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Who Discovered the Stratosphere

Stratosphere is the name given to the second layer of the Earth’s atmosphere. It is located just above the troposphere and below mesosphere. It has a stratified nature meaning that it has warmer layers higher up and cooler layers closer to the earth. The stratosphere is found anywhere between 8 km (5 mi) and 50 km (30 mi) above the earth’s surface. The stratosphere absorbs high energy ultraviolet (UV), specifically UVB and UVC, waves from the sun. The Stratosphere is considered part of the biosphere because some bacterial life and certain species of birds can survive in this layer of atmosphere.

Who Discovered the Stratosphere?
The discovery of the stratosphere was made independently by a French meteorologist named Leon Philippe Teisserenc de Bort and German meteorologist Richard Assmann. They both announced the discovery of the stratosphere in the year 1902, which means that they are both credited with this important discovery.

Teisserenc de Bort served as chief meteorologist from 1892 to 1896 at the Central Meteorological Bureau in Paris. He later resigned so that he could complete his own experiments focused on the Earth’s atmosphere. He used unmanned instrumented balloons to collect data from high altitudes. He discovered that when the balloons reached an altitude above 11 km the temperature remained constant. From his data he theorized that the earth had two layers of atmosphere. One layer which involve large amounts of air movement which he named the “troposphere” (“sphere of change”) and a second layer above that where temperatures remained constant. Teisserenc de Bort mistakenly thought this layer consisted of further internal layers and named it the “stratosphere” (“sphere of layers”).

Did you know?
Assmann also invented the psychrometer, which provided accurate measurement of humidity and temperature at high altitude.

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