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Teisserenc de Bort, Léon Philippe

temperature stratosphere air discovered

[taysuhrõk] (1855–1913) French meteorologist: discovered the stratosphere.

Teisserenc de Bort worked for several years as chief meteorologist at the Central Meteorological Bureau in Paris, before setting up his own observatory near Versailles in 1896. In 1902, using unmanned recoverable instrumented balloons, he discovered that above an altitude of about 11 km the temperature of the atmosphere ceases to decrease with height, and remains relatively constant in this region. He named this part of the atmosphere the stratosphere (believing that its steady temperature was due to undisturbed layers, or strata, of air), and the region below it the troposphere (since here the temperature varies and mixing of the air takes place). He went on to show that the tropopause (where troposphere and stratosphere meet) is much higher in the tropics.

He had earlier shown that European weather is very dependent on the atmospheric pressure at certain centres, notably the ‘Azores high’ and the ‘Iceland low’.

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