Climate change is causing the troposphere to expand

Climate change is causing the troposphere to expand

The troposphere, the lowest layer of the earth's atmosphere extending from the earth's surface and sea to a height of about 6 km above the poles and 18 km above the tropics, where most of the meteorological events take place, is expanding. The phenomenon has actually been known since the mid-2000s, however a team of researchers has now found important confirmation that a whole series of natural processes affect this layer, but obviously, warming from human carbon dioxide emissions is a key factor.

Researchers found that expansion was increasing by about 50-60 meters per decade for the past 40 years, at least within the Northern Hemisphere. The team used two main sources of data: radiosonde measurements from weather balloons and GPS radio occultation data from satellites, allowing the team to build a picture of the tropopause altitude between 1980 and 2020.

To test how much influence human activity was having on the tropopause rise, the team took into account the natural events that occurred, including two volcanic eruptions in 1980 and a strong El Niño event at the end 1990. When these events were accounted for, they found that most of the expansion of the Troposphere, up to 53 meters per decade, could be attributed to human-induced climate change.

“This is an unmistakable sign of changing atmospheric structure,” said Bill Randel, co-author of the study. "These results provide independent confirmation, as well as all other evidence of climate change, that greenhouse gases are altering our atmosphere." The team says that while a higher tropopause may not be a phenomenon to worry about in everyday life, it could increase the intensity of thunderstorms and require planes to fly higher to avoid turbulence.

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