Why is the oxygen thinner as you get higher?



  1. 0 Votes

    The percentage of oxygen molecules in air — 21% — remains constant regardless of altitude. However, the higher up one goes, the less air is pushing down on one from above. Lower air pressure means fewer molecules in a defined space, so there are simply fewer oxygen molecules at higher altitudes, just as there are fewer molecules of any gas.

  2. 0 Votes

    This is because the air is “thinner.” According to USATODAY.com, “At all levels of the atmosphere, oxygen molecules account for about 20% of the air.” So even if the elevation was very high, oxygen would still contribute 20% to the composition of that air. But since there is too little air at very high elevations,  20% of oxygen at such altitudes is too little oxgyen to keep someone alive. This is because air pressure falls as you go higher. Air pressure is caused by the weight of air molecules above you, there are fewer molecules of air above you the higher you go  resulting in a lower pressure and “thinner” air.


  3. 0 Votes

    There is also less water vapor high in the atmosphere spread out among the thinner layers; this also contributes to the “thinness” of the oxygen.

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