This picture shows some of the features of the stratosphere, which extends from about 10 to 50 km (6 to 31 miles) above our planet. The troposphere is the atmospheric layer below it, while the mesosphere is above. Earth's "sunscreen", the ozone layer, lies within the stratosphere. Clouds are mostly absent from the dry stratosphere; colorful Polar Stratospheric Clouds are the lone exception. Temperatures increase with height throughout the stratosphere.
Original artwork by Windows to the Universe staff (Randy Russell).