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[Gr.,=sphere of air], the mixture of gases surrounding a celestial body with sufficient gravity to maintain it. Although some details about the atmospheres of other planets and satellites are known, only the earth's atmosphere has been well studied, the science of
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the boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere. The thickness of the tropopause ranges from a few hundred meters to 2–3 km. In the tropopause the lapse rate decreases, and temperature inversions are frequently observed. The height of the upper boundary of the troposphere is usually taken as the height of the tropopause. The height of the tropopause depends on geographic latitude, and the tropopause is higher in summer than in winter. Moreover, the height of the tropopause also depends on cyclonic activity; that is, the tropopause is lower in cyclones and higher in anticyclones. Over certain regions the tropopause often breaks up and then reforms; in the subtropics, breaks in the tropopause are regularly observed as we move from temperate to tropical latitudes. These breaks are associated with powerful subtropical jet streams.