Humans’ combustion of fossil fuels (CO2) is shrinking the stratosphere — the layer of air above the troposphere, in which we all live — which will potentially affect the satellites and radio communications, new research shows.
The study found that increased carbon dioxide (CO2) in the troposphere (0–20 km above sea level) has squeezed the stratosphere (20–60 km above sea level) by 400 meters, essentially 1%, since at least the 1980s when satellite data was first gathered.
Rising emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHG) have led to tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling over recent decades.
As a thermodynamic consequence, the troposphere has expanded and the rise of the tropopause, the boundary between the troposphere and stratosphere, has been suggested as one of the most robust fingerprints of anthropogenic climate change.
Conversely, at altitudes above ~55 km (in the mesosphere and thermosphere) observational and modeling evidence indicates a downward shift of the height of pressure levels or decreasing density at fixed altitudes.
Data from coupled chemistry-climate models showed that this trend will continue and the mean climatological thickness of the stratosphere will decrease by 1.3 km in just 60 years, unless we do some major emissions cuts.
Reference- Environmental Research Letters, The Guardian, Clean Technica, Nexus Media