tro·​po·​sphere ˈtrō-pə-ˌsfir How to pronounce troposphere (audio)
: the lowest densest part of the earth's atmosphere in which most weather changes occur and temperature generally decreases rapidly with altitude and which extends from the earth's surface to the bottom of the stratosphere at about 7 miles (11 kilometers) high
ˌtrō-pə-ˈsfir-ik How to pronounce troposphere (audio)

Examples of troposphere in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Because the jet stream is sandwiched between the warm (and getting warmer) troposphere and the cool (and getting cooler) stratosphere, the increasing temperature differential means increasing wind shear. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, 5 Sep. 2023 The troposphere is the first layer above the Earth that extends 5 to 9 miles above the Earth's surface. Devika Rao, The Week, 9 June 2023 This is the boundary between the troposphere, the layer of the atmosphere closest to Earth's surface, and the stratosphere above it. Tom Yulsman, Discover Magazine, 17 Apr. 2016 And sometimes, the overshoot can thrust from the lower level of the atmosphere, the troposphere, right on up into the stratosphere above. Tom Yulsman, Discover Magazine, 30 Apr. 2017 While climate change is actually decreasing wind shear in the troposphere as temperature differentials decrease, the opposite is true for the lower stratosphere, which is where airplanes fly to avoid atmospheric drag. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, 5 Sep. 2023 As the fires rapidly grew, smoke billowed into the middle and upper layers of the troposphere, three to five miles above the ground. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, 8 Aug. 2023 Updrafts from a strong thunderstorm punch through the boundary between the troposphere, the lowest region of the atmosphere, and into the stratosphere, as seen in this photograph made by an unidentified astronaut aboard the International Space Station toward the end of March 2016. Tom Yulsman, Discover Magazine, 17 Apr. 2016 The area is called the lower stratosphere, which is just above the troposphere, the lowest part of the atmosphere, according to the UCAR Center for Science Education. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, 28 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'troposphere.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from French troposphère, from tropo- tropo- (in sense "change," as the troposphere is where weather changes take place) + -sphère -sphere

Note: The term was introduced, along with stratosphère stratosphere, by the French meteorologist Léon Tesserenc de Bort (1855-1913). Tesserenc de Bort apparently first used them in a paper read to a German meteorological society in Hamburg on September 30, 1908 ("La division de l'atmosphère en troposphère et stratosphère d'après les résultats de l'exploration de la haute atmosphère"). The paper was not subsequently published but is briefly summarized by C. Kassner in "Bericht über die elfte allgemeine Versammlung und Feier des 25-jährigen Bestehens der Deutschen Meteorologischen Gesellschaft zu Hamburg am 28. bis 30. September 1908," Meteorologische Zeitschrift, Band 26, Heft 1 (Januar, 1909), p. 6.

First Known Use

1908, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of troposphere was in 1908

Dictionary Entries Near troposphere

Cite this Entry

“Troposphere.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


tro·​po·​sphere ˈtrōp-ə-ˌsfi(ə)r How to pronounce troposphere (audio) ˈträp- How to pronounce troposphere (audio)
: the portion of the atmosphere which extends from the earth's surface to the bottom of the stratosphere and in which temperature generally decreases rapidly with altitude
ˌtrōp-ə-ˈsfi(ə)r-ik How to pronounce troposphere (audio)

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