Zone in which the temperature is regularly decreasing with altitude (average values: 20 ºC at ground level, -55 ºC at 12 km); its thickness varies with latitude: at the poles it is 6-7 km, at the Equator it reaches 18 km. This difference is due both to dynamic causes (greater centrifugal force at the Equator) and to thermodynamic causes, since the strong heating of the equatorial zone produces very intense convection currents. The troposphere is the seat of the main meteorological phenomena and of the physical-chemical cycles that allow animal and plant life; it contains 3/4 of all the air and almost all the water vapor present in the atmosphere. The water vapor plays a very important role in the processes of absorption, exchange (latent heat of vaporization and condensation) and radiation of atmospheric heat that, determining phenomena of turbulence, make uniform the constitution of the troposphere.
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