Is climate change cooling the Earth’s upper atmosphere?

Climate Change
Is climate change cooling the Earth's upper atmosphere?

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Surprisingly, climate change might be cooling the Earth’s upper atmosphere. But yes, global warming is still happening.

Story at a glance

  • Global warming is escalating average temperatures across the world and triggering extreme weather events.
  • Similarly, a new study revealed that temperatures of the Earth’s upper atmosphere are cooling.
  • These deviations might have a consequence on both climate and aeroplane technology.

If global warming is happening, our question is how can the Earth’s atmosphere be getting colder?

In some ways, this query repeats another by climate change skeptics: If global warming is happening, why is it colder in some places than earlier years? For one thing, weather and seasons are still occurring. 

Equally, colder weather in some areas is contradicted with hotter temperatures in other places, and research suggests that global warming might be discharging surrounded cold air. 

Similarly, even as the lower atmosphere is warming, a new study revealed that the Earth’s upper atmosphere is cooling because of rising carbon dioxide levels and variations in the magnetic field. 

“The rise in CO2 concentration is the foremost cause of cooling in the upper atmosphere, while effects of magnetic field changes also play a significant role near the poles, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere,” remarked Ingrid Cnossen, a fellow at the British Antarctic Survey and author of the study.

While the troposphere, the layer contiguous to the Earth, cools as you go upper, the next level — the stratosphere — truly warms as you get nearer to the sun. 

Even upper layers, including the mesosphere and thermosphere, are mostly cold, but the research found that temperatures have been falling even further in all three layers.

It is not clear whether global warming, which impacts the troposphere, is behind the cooling of upper layers, Cnossen said, but these effects of climate change could have stern results on everything from melting glaciers to humans’ ability to fly.

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About Zulker Naeen

Climate Journalist

Zulker Naeen is a South Asia Fellow at Climate Tracker. With three years of working experience, he has developed courses with the support of other Climate Tracker staff.

As a young climate advocate, his fellowship aims to share knowledge of climate change. Climate Tracker is a global media network closely works on Climate Change.

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If you have any questions, comments or want to get involved, email Zulker Naeen at – that’s me. I’d love to hear from you. And if you’ve been forwarded this email and liked what you saw, why not subscribe? 

Is climate change cooling the Earth's upper atmosphere?


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