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Thread: breathable atmosphere volume

  1. #1
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    breathable atmosphere volume

    Just for fun, I was curious as to *approximately* how much volume of breathable air do we have (by comparison)
    So, this image is what I came up with.
    No it is not suppose to represent *EXACT* numbers.
    I have no idea how much space mountains take up in air space, or holes dug deep into the ground.
    Using a couple websites I used 8km as the height of our breathable air space and this is what I came up with.
    Hopefully the number are *reasonably close*.
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  2. #2
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    Well, the average elevation of land masses is about 800 meters, and the remains two thirds is ocean with no elevation, so I guess the average elevation would be about 300 meters. But of course, 8000 meters is only an approximation, that depends on the individual, so Iím not sure what the height at which the air becomes unbreathable on average would be.


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  3. #3
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    Oh, and actually 8000 meters is probably too high. At that height our bodies canít adjust and we can only live for a short period. I guess it depends on what you mean by breathable, but if you mean in a sustained way, then apparently itís close to 6000.


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  4. #4
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    6000 was my guess as well. There are, however, people who live and work at about 5500 in the Andes.

    Of course, air is compressible. That should be taken into account somehow or other.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  5. #5
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    I saw a photo of some of them playing soccer at 4,500 meters in Peru.

  6. #6
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    8000m is the traditional threshold of the Death Zone, above which your physiology will decompensate rapidly and fatally - on the order of a few days, though it varies from person to person. There seems to be a genetic component to ability to survive at these altitudes, and it's not remotely a precise threshold. (Here in Scotland, hillwalkers refer to altitudes about 1000m as the "English Death Zone", because there are no hills that high in England.)

    Highest permanent human habitation is around 5000m, though people have lived for a few years at a time at altitudes approaching 6000m. There are health risks in that zone, however, with an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and heart failure among those who live there.

    Grant Hutchison

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Of course, air is compressible. That should be taken into account somehow or other.
    I was thinking that two when I saw the question, but I think the question is actually, what is the volume in square meters of the space in which we can survive, not how much air there is.


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  8. #8
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    No matter how you cut it, that's precious little breathing air. We need to conserve it.

    We'll take turns. You start.

    You hold your breath for the first hour, then I'll hold my breath for the next hour.

  9. #9
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    That sphere of air looks a bit bigger than I would have thought, actually.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    That sphere of air looks a bit bigger than I would have thought, actually.
    From the parameters used, it has to have a volume more than twice that of Earth's surface water. So the illustration seems about right.

    Grant Hutchison

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