CO2 dangerously thins the thickness of the upper atmosphere

Scientists from the Langley Research Center recently conducted a study on the effects of carbon dioxide on the Earth’s atmosphere. For the first time, hypotheses about the negative effects of CO2 could be observed directly.

The work was supported by NASA TIMED. The results showed that this greenhouse gas cools and shrinks the atmosphere. Note that the observations were mainly made at the level of two atmospheric layers (mesosphere and thermosphere) still called MLT. At the level of these, the carbon dioxide sends back infrared radiation. This rejection causes the upper atmosphere to shrink which also leads to an increase in its drag. Martin Mlynczak, a scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center was the study’s lead author. The document was published in the journal Journal of Geophysical Research : Atmospheres.

Carbon dioxide shrinks the atmosphere through radiation

Scientists then observed in certain lower layers of the atmosphere a warming effect caused by CO2. This gas absorbs and reflects infrared radiation. At the MLT, some of the radiation escapes into thespacethus favoring the cooling of the upper atmosphere.

According to old hypotheses, this decrease in temperature also induces a contraction of the stratosphere. With this study, we now know that the phenomenon also occurs at the level of the mesosphere and the thermosphere. Based on the TIMED data, the team noticed that the MLT lost about 1,333 meters of its volume. Approximately 342 meters of this shrinkage come from the radioactive cooling of the CO2.

CO2 emissions that pollute the atmosphere

Unfortunately, according to other studies, thermospheric cooling induced by carbon dioxide could lead to a 33% reduction atmospheric drag by 2070.

“At each altitude there is cooling and contraction which we attribute in part to increased carbon dioxide. »

Martin Mlynczak, scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center

A phenomenon of atmospheric congestion

Thus, the shrinking of the Earth’s atmospheric layers caused by carbon dioxide presents an even greater danger. In reality, this loss of volume affects also the drag force of the atmosphere. This results in a reduction of the forces that promote its cleaning. This means that the scraps of satellites and other old technologies in orbit low terrestrial will probably stay in place longer.

In fact, this eventuality is profitable for the new rockets since they will stay better in orbit. In return, these observation machines will be forced toconstantly adjust their trajectory to avoid collisions with the remains of their ancestors.

“One consequence is that the satellites will stay in place longer. However, they will have to adjust their trajectory to avoid collisions. »

Martin Mlynczak, scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center.

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