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One of the five atmospheric layers; the zone of the earth in which weather occurs. The tropo sphere, the lowest of all layers found in the atmosphere, spans from the earth's surface to the stratosphere. The layer dividing the two layers is known as the tropopause. The troposphere is characterized by temperatures that decrease with escalating altitude, whereas the stratosphere is characterized by temperatures that increase with altitude. The troposphere, which spans approximately 15 kilometers above the earth's surface, is the most compact of all the atmospheric layers and is home to most of the atmosphere's water vapor. In addition, the troposphere is the layer in which most of the earth's clouds are located.