Created By: Unknown Troper on September 1, 2009
Troped

Atmosphere Abuse

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Kizor: No, not breaking the ambiance. The destruction or irreparable maiming of a gas layer that surrounds a planetary body, which appears to be a distinct and semi-frequent concept.

One problem: does this have too much overlap with The End of the World as We Know It and Apocalypse How? The Apocalypse How rating of Atmosphere Abuse varies, but it's hard to imagine it not having one. Another matter is whether we should include situations where the atmosphere is changed enough to kill off previous inhabitants, but not removed altogether. Examples come to mind in the Tripods books, an episode of Stargate, and UFO: Afterlight, in all cases due to Terraforming, twice inadvertently and once knowingly.


Examples:

Literature
  • ''The Science of Discworld.
    Rincewind (from memory): Ah. This is going to be one of the times when the atmosphere catches fire. I hate those.

Music
  • Skullcrusher Mountain.
    Picture the two of us alone inside my golden submarine While above the waves my doomsday squad ignites the atmosphere...

Web Original

Video Games
Community Feedback Replies: 33
  • September 1, 2009
    random surfer
    Spaceballs. Planet Spaceball stole Planet Druidia's atmosphere.
  • September 1, 2009
    SAMAS
    A trope about Mass Destruction, and no mention of Warhammer 40000 yet? For shame!

  • September 1, 2009
    Amazingly Enough
    Truth In Television, of course.
  • September 1, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Since the ozone layer is part of the atmosphere, it's probably relevant that one of the alien criminals in Men In Black 2 was convicted of stealing some of it to sell on the black market.
  • September 1, 2009
    Nomic
    Warhammer40000 actually has this as a result of two separate methods of Exterminatus. In the case of virus bombing, the gasses released by the virus reducing most of the planet's biomass into much can be ignited, resulting in a planet-wide firestorm. Technically it doesn't burn the atmosphere, just the flammable gasses released there, but close enough. Cyclonic torpedoes play this completely straight, igniting the atmosphere aswell as most things on the planet's surface.
  • September 1, 2009
    Lee M
    Doctor Who: The recent two-parter in which devices fitted to engine exhausts turned out to be atmospheric converters. The gas they give off is deadly to humans and manna to Sontaran young.
  • September 1, 2009
    Fanra
  • September 1, 2009
    Saintheart
    The Matrix, specifically the Dark Storm Effect blotting out all sunlight in the real world. Although we don't know whether it was the humans or machines who struck first, it was the humans who scorched the sky.
  • September 2, 2009
    BlackDragon
    In Gargoyles, the titular 'goyles had a problem with a curse that would not end "Untill the skies burned." Earlier, they had been bound in stone untill their castle rose above the clouds, and David Xanatos had arranged that... so it comes as no surprise that he's got a solution this time, too. Figuring that they only need a very localized phenomenon, he helps them distribute a flamable gas above New York and sets it on fire, causing the heavens to burn (briefly and harmlessly), breaking the curse.
  • September 2, 2009
    Arivne
    Film
    • An example of the "nukes ignite the atmosphere" idea: at the end of Beneath the Planet Of The Apes, the astronauts note that the detonation of a cobalt bomb could "set off a chain reaction in the whole atmosphere. Burn the planet to a cinder." After the bomb detonates:
    In one of the countless billions of galaxies in the universe lies a medium-size star. And one of its satellites, a green and insignificant planet, is now dead.

    Literature
    • Mack Reynolds' novel Dawnman Planet. A race of aliens has the power to instantly convert the oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere of a planet to methane-hydrogen-ammonia, killing all of the inhabitants.

    Live Action TV
    • Star Trek The Original Series
      • Episode "Return to Tomorrow''. The Enterprise finds a planet whose atmosphere was ripped away by a cataclysm half a million years earlier.
      • Episode "Obsession". At the end of the episode, a matter/antimatter explosion rips away half of a planet's atmosphere.

    Tabletop RPG
    • Traveller Adventure 4 Leviathan. In the backstory, a series of nuclear explosions caused the planet Ganulf to lose its atmosphere, causing the death of everyone on the planet.
  • September 2, 2009
    Chabal 2
    One Animorphs book tells us that the Yeerks can "kill a lot of people by using Dracon beams to ignite the atmosphere from orbit, extinguishing all life on the planet."
  • September 2, 2009
    Stormtroper
    The Imperium's Weapon Of Mass Destruction in Dark Reign does this.
  • September 2, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    How about "skies on fire"? Or "atmos-fear"? Both lame I know, one after and AC/DC song, the other just a pun.
  • September 2, 2009
    Lee M
    Quatermass II had a chemical plant run by humans under alien control, which was manufacturing gases in which the aliens could live. They were horribly corrosive to human flesh, and IIRC the plan was ultimately for the aliens to manufacture enough to replace the Earth's atmosphere.
  • September 2, 2009
    Stormtroper
  • September 20, 2009
    Kizor
    The "astro" in there has to go, so how about it, everyone? "Catatmosphere," "Atmos Fear", or something that won't cause facepalms through its stupidity?
  • October 21, 2009
    Kizor
    Bump.
  • October 21, 2009
    Unknown Troper
  • October 21, 2009
    Duncan
    From Jonathan Coulton's song "Skullcrusher Mountain":
    Picture the two of us alone inside my golden submarine
    While up above the waves my doomsday squad ignites the atmosphere
    And all the fools who live their foolish lives may find it quite explosive
    But it won't mean half as much to me if I don't have you here
  • October 23, 2009
    Ranger Six
    In both Homeworld and Homeworld 2, your enemy deploys a weapon that's designed specifically to turn the atmosphere of a planet into a raging firestorm. (If I remember correctly, the weapon is called the Low-Orbit Atmosphere Deprivation Missile.)
  • October 23, 2009
    Stormtroper
    You don't have to be mean...
  • October 23, 2009
    Kizor
    I was? Aw, I'm sorry. :( Through its incredible lame punness is more what I meant. I'd never want to insult people who try to help.
  • October 23, 2009
    Stormtroper
    It's alright, I kinda took it the wrong way.
  • October 24, 2009
    ShayGuy
    The question of whether the Tasen's Alpha Strike has irreparably damaged Earth's atmosphere is brought up a few times in Iji.
  • November 9, 2009
    Kizor
    BTW, I'll cover the rumours about nuclear bombs back when the things were first invented.
  • December 1, 2009
    Kizor
    Any more examples?
  • December 12, 2009
    Kizor
    Guess not.
  • December 13, 2009
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • Dungeons And Dragons adventure OA7 Test of the Samurai. The evil magician Za-Jikku is trying to change the planet's atmosphere. If he succeeds, he'll be able to live forever but every other living creature will die.
  • December 13, 2009
    Kizor
    Cool, thanks! Any idea how he's trying to do it?
  • December 14, 2009
    Arivne
    @Kizor: He kills people and turns them into evil butterflies, which breathe in normal air (t'ien ch'i) and change it to a deadly gas (yun ch'i). By mastering a rigorous training program called "ch'i ch'ing t'ingp'i", Za-Jikku can breathe the yun ch'i and gain immortality.

    The adventure (in PDF format) can be downloaded (legally!) at the Wizards of the Coast website here.
  • January 18, 2010
    Arivne
    Film
  • January 18, 2010
    Evalana
    Inverted in a scene cut early on from Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, where it's mentioned Flint's hero, Vance LaFleur, fixed the hole in the ozone layer by adding more ozone.
  • March 28, 2010
    Kizor
    One last bump. Any title suggestions?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=d6r3z3cexpe39iukqwxg7l5j