The troposphere is the lowest portion of Earth's atmosphere. It contains approximately 80% of the atmosphere's mass and 99% of its water vapour and aerosols. 


a view of the troposphere from an aircraft. image:R.Conan-Davies

 The average depth of the troposphere is approximately 17 km  in the middle latitudes. It is deeper in the tropics, up to 20 km, and shallower near the polar regions, approximately 7 km  in winter. 

The lowest part of the troposphere, where friction with the Earth's surface influences air flow, is the planetary boundary layer. This layer is typically a few hundred metres to 2 km (1.2 mi) deep depending on the landform and time of day. The border between the troposphere and stratosphere, called the tropopause, is a temperature inversion.

Origin of the word troposphere

The word troposphere derives from the Greek: tropos for "change" reflecting the fact that turbulent mixing plays an important role in the troposphere's structure and behaviour. Most of the phenomena ( such as low level clouds) we associate with day-to-day weather occur in the troposphere.