The Earth’s atmosphere (or air) is a layer of gases surrounding planet Earth retained by the Earth’s gravity. Dry air contains 78.08% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.038% carbon dioxide, and trace amounts of other gases. Air also contains a variable water vapour, on average around 1%. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention (the greenhouse effect), and reducing temperature extremes between day and night.

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