The two main isothermal or transitional zones of the atmosphere are the tropopause and the stratopause. These zones mark significant changes in temperature within the vertical profile of the atmosphere.
- Tropopause: The tropopause is the boundary between the troposphere and the layer above it, called the stratosphere. It is a transition zone where the vertical temperature profile changes from decreasing with altitude in the troposphere to remaining relatively constant in the lower part of the stratosphere. The tropopause typically lies at an altitude of around 10 to 18 kilometers (6 to 11 miles) above the Earth’s surface, depending on latitude and season.
- Stratopause: The stratopause is the transition zone between the stratosphere and the layer above it, known as the mesosphere. It is located above the tropopause and marks a change in the temperature profile from a constant or slightly increasing temperature in the stratosphere to a decreasing temperature with altitude in the mesosphere. The stratopause is typically found at an altitude of about 45 to 55 kilometers (28 to 34 miles) above the Earth’s surface.
These transitional zones play significant roles in atmospheric dynamics and can have important implications for weather patterns and the behavior of various atmospheric phenomena.