How Cold Is The Stratosphere?

Very cold, minus 160 degrees F. to be exact. But temperatures in the stratosphere offer some surprises.

The stratosphere ranges from 10 to 50 miles above sea level. At sea level, in what scientists call the troposphere, temperatures range from an average of 56 degrees F. at sea level to minus 60 degrees F. 10 miles up, a drop of over 100 degrees. In the stratosphere, for the first 10 miles (10 to 20 miles above sea level) temperatures remain a constant minus 60 degrees F.

Then, between 20 and 30 miles above sea level, temperatures increase. That’s right, they go up to the freezing point of water, 32 degrees F. Only then, in the top 20 miles of the stratosphere, do temperatures drop off to the very, very cold minus 160 degrees F.

Did you know that the stratosphere is the layer of the earth’s atmosphere in which most of the protective layer of ozone is located?

Ozone screens out the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun and is found in that portion of the stratosphere 10 to 20 miles above sea level.