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Viewing Single Post From: The giant space ship example
Chris Ho-Stuart
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gbaikie
Dec 9 2011, 01:01 AM
Anyhow, I don't think you have stratosphere unless you have sunlight. And probably don't have a thermosphere and the other spheres, either.
I use the term "stratosphere" to indicate where the atmosphere first becomes "stratified"; due to the lack of strong vertical mixing from convection. In the stratosphere, adiabatic lapse rates no longer apply. The starship will indeed have a stratosphere in this general sense of the term.

There are other definitions, but for general usage across many different planets, I much prefer this one. It is used (for example) in "Principles of Planetary Climate" by Pierrehumbert.

I'll try to make clear the precise definition I am using. The troposphere is the portion of the atmosphere mixed by vertical convection, and where convection is able to transport energy upwards and so drive the lapse rate towards the adiabatic lapse rate (dry or moist as appropriate, if we consider condensing gases in the atmosphere).

Without fussing too much on different definitions (I think Strobel's usage is much too Earth-centric for a chapter on planetary science, frankly) I'll just note that I am using the term to mean where the atmosphere first becomes "stratified"; due to the lack of strong vertical mixing from convection. The starship will indeed have a stratosphere in this general sense of the term, even without sunlight or ozone. In any case, it will certainly have an altitude above which the atmosphere becomes stratified.

There might be a sphere where the atmosphere also becomes sorted by molecular weights, but I don't really know. I won't worry about that; if this occurs it would be where the atmosphere was too thin to impact the surface temperature.

Cheers -- Chris
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The giant space ship example · Physical theory for climate