The Chemical Composition of Air

Earth From Space
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Nearly all of the Earth's atmosphere is made up of only five gases: nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor, argon, and carbon dioxide. Several other compounds are also present. Although this CRC table does not list water vapor, air can contain as much as 5% water vapor, more commonly ranging from 1-3%. The 1-5% range places water vapor as the third most common gas (which alters the other percentages accordingly).

Below is the composition of air in percent by volume, at sea level at 15 C and 101325 Pa.


  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, edited by David R. Lide, 1997.