Air is an essential component for life on Earth because it contains the oxygen that is necessary for living organisms to breathe. The air completely surrounds the Earth and literally wraps it up in a shroud that, under the effect of gravity and centrifugal force caused by the Earth’s rotation, takes a spheroid shape (think of the shape of an egg), flatter at the poles and bulging at the Equator. This is why, even if its boundaries with the interplanetary spaces cannot be accurately identified, it has been called atmosphere (from the Greek atmòs = steam, and sfaira = sphere). Atmosphere acts as a filter against harmful radiations from the Sun, by reflecting them and preventing them from reaching the ground, and it allows the Earth’s surface to remain at a temperature that is suitable for the life of plants and animals. The atmosphere is also the zone of the principal meteorological phenomena (wind, rain, snow, etc.) which, together, form the climate.

subjects dealt with in Air knowledge

aria_400x225_0011_che cos'è l'aria

What it is

The air that we breathe is a mixture of solid and liquid particles suspended in a gaseous medium, which is…

aria_400x225_0009_L'atmosfera

Atmosphere

The air completely surrounds the Earth and literally wraps it up in a shroud that, under the effect of gravity…

special reports

  • 10 May 2008 / Air

    Bioindicators

    Monitoring the environment Ecologic research is more and more oriented towards an assessment of the quality of the environment and…

    7 November 2008 / Air

    Lightning

    Help! a storm! Man has always been afraid of lightning, in fact in the past lightning was considered a sign…

    7 July 2010 / Air

    What is the weather like?

    On a summer day On a beautiful, sunny summer day you may plan to spend the day out of town,…

  • 15 April 2007 / Air

    Climate and dynasties

    Scientific research Far worse than Attila the Hun, the true calamity that has led to the fall of flourishing civilizations…

    11 December 2013 / Air

    Typhoons, hurricanes and cyclones

    The typhoon in the Philippines and the flood in Sardinia On November 8, 2013 typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines with…

    7 January 2006 / Air

    In the eye of the cyclone

    A year of studies Recent studies confirm that the warming of the atmosphere causes an increase in the temperature of…

  • 23 October 2013 / Air

    Carbon Footprint

    CO2 emissions and lifestyles If your parents decide to buy a new car, they might be attracted by a car…

    29 April 2014 / Air

    What will the climate be like?

    Fiction vs reality In a famous scene of The day after tomorrow1, the paleoclimatologist Jack Hall presents the results of…

    30 May 2014 / Air

    Latest news regarding the Climate

    A short summary Polar temperatures in the USA, days in March that are almost like summer, extremely violent typhoons ...…

  • 10 May 2008 / Air

    Bioindicators

    Monitoring the environment Ecologic research is more and more oriented towards an assessment of the quality of the environment and…

    7 November 2008 / Air

    Lightning

    Help! a storm! Man has always been afraid of lightning, in fact in the past lightning was considered a sign…

  • 7 July 2010 / Air

    What is the weather like?

    On a summer day On a beautiful, sunny summer day you may plan to spend the day out of town,…

    15 April 2007 / Air

    Climate and dynasties

    Scientific research Far worse than Attila the Hun, the true calamity that has led to the fall of flourishing civilizations…

  • 11 December 2013 / Air

    Typhoons, hurricanes and cyclones

    The typhoon in the Philippines and the flood in Sardinia On November 8, 2013 typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines with…

    7 January 2006 / Air

    In the eye of the cyclone

    A year of studies Recent studies confirm that the warming of the atmosphere causes an increase in the temperature of…

  • 10 May 2008 / Air

    Bioindicators

    Monitoring the environment Ecologic research is more and more oriented towards an assessment of the quality of the environment and…

  • 7 November 2008 / Air

    Lightning

    Help! a storm! Man has always been afraid of lightning, in fact in the past lightning was considered a sign…

  • 7 July 2010 / Air

    What is the weather like?

    On a summer day On a beautiful, sunny summer day you may plan to spend the day out of town,…

from the Multimedia section

curiosities

  • Exploring the air

    In order to have a three-dimensional view of the atmosphere it is necessary to record observations at the higher altitudes,…

    Astronauts in their bathing suits

    As we have already seen, in the thermosphere the temperature increases as the distance from the Sun increases. At around…

    How hot it is!

    When we feel an oppressive heat, our first thought goes to the mercury column of the thermometer. We associate the…

  • Blue skies

    If there are no clouds, the colour of the sky seems blue during the day; a more intense blue at…

    Weather over the Mediterranean Sea

    The weather in the Mediterranean areas is generally associated with fair weather in summer (except occasional formation of storms) and…

    GOES meteorological satellites

    The numerous civil and military satellites orbiting around us are currently able to observe practically every point of the planet.…

  • METEOSAT European satellites

    The first European meteorological satellite was launched in November 1977, the first of the METEOSAT series. At present there are…

    Radars in meteorology

    Radar (acronym for radio detection and ranging) monitoring techniques  are used to record the position of objects of any size,…

    Tornado chasers

    Tornadoes are one of the most violent and spectacular meteorological manifestations. They appear suddenly without any warning, they move rapidly…

  • Exploring the air

    In order to have a three-dimensional view of the atmosphere it is necessary to record observations at the higher altitudes,…

    Astronauts in their bathing suits

    As we have already seen, in the thermosphere the temperature increases as the distance from the Sun increases. At around…

  • How hot it is!

    When we feel an oppressive heat, our first thought goes to the mercury column of the thermometer. We associate the…

    Blue skies

    If there are no clouds, the colour of the sky seems blue during the day; a more intense blue at…

  • Weather over the Mediterranean Sea

    The weather in the Mediterranean areas is generally associated with fair weather in summer (except occasional formation of storms) and…

    GOES meteorological satellites

    The numerous civil and military satellites orbiting around us are currently able to observe practically every point of the planet.…

  • Exploring the air

    In order to have a three-dimensional view of the atmosphere it is necessary to record observations at the higher altitudes,…

  • Astronauts in their bathing suits

    As we have already seen, in the thermosphere the temperature increases as the distance from the Sun increases. At around…

  • How hot it is!

    When we feel an oppressive heat, our first thought goes to the mercury column of the thermometer. We associate the…

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