Atmospheric dissipation is the process in which the atmosphere of a planet can become non-existant. It occurs by natural means, and once it begins it cannot be stopped.
The rate of dissipation is unpredictable, but it usually is over within 48 hours. Once the atmosphere has diminished, the planet becomes uninhabitable.
Plasmonic energy bursts are generated, which affect transporters, and can cause damage to orbiting starships. Radiation also bombards the planet, and the oceans evaporate. Only an atmospheric shield can prevent people from being killed.