General Structure of the Atmosphere, and Atmospheric Temperature and Pressure
The purpose of this assignment sheet is to introduce the student to the general composition and
structure of the atmosphere, the properties of temperature and atmospheric pressure, and their
effect on aircraft altimeters.
This lesson will discuss the basic building blocks of the atmosphere, beginning with the lower
layers in which most flight activity occurs. These layers have particular temperature
characteristics affecting many aspects of weather and are important to the understanding of later
chapters. Pressure is another characteristic of the atmosphere, which enables meteorologists to
track weather phenomena as they move across the surface of the Earth. Additionally, pressure is
important to the aviation community since one of the most basic flight instruments, the barometric
altimeter, operates from the action of atmospheric pressure upon its sensors. Additionally, in
order to gain a complete understanding of the altimeter, the effects of temperature and pressure
variations on altimeter readings will be discussed.
LESSON TOPIC LEARNING OBJECTIVES
Terminal Objective: Completely supported by this lesson topic:
Upon completion of this unit of instruction, student aviators and flight officers will
demonstrate knowledge of meteorological theory enabling them to make intelligent decisions
when confronted with various weather phenomena and hazards.
Enabling Objectives: Completely supported by this lesson topic:
Describe the characteristics of the troposphere, tropopause, and stratosphere.
Describe the flight conditions associated with the troposphere, tropopause, and
Define a lapse rate.
State the average lapse rate in degrees Celsius.
Define atmospheric pressure.
State the standard units of pressure measurement.
Define the standard atmosphere to include temperature and pressure.
Differentiate between sea level pressure and station pressure.
General Structure of the Atmosphere, and Atmospheric Temperature and Pressure 1-1