What is the relationship between the Earth's atmosphere and its weather and climate?

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The Earth's atmosphere is the collection of gasses and water vapor (often in the form of clouds) that exists for several miles above the surface of the planet.  The atmosphere is incredibly important to all weather cycles and life on the planet in general.  The atmosphere helps keep heat from the Sun that makes its way to the planet's surface trapped near the surface and keeps it from escaping back into space.  This keeps the surface temperatures at habitable levels, thus allowing life on the planet to exist.  The atmosphere also keeps the Earth's water from escaping into space as well.  The water in the...

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