The Upper Atmosphere Is Cooling, Prompting New Climate Concerns

There is a paradox at the heart of our changing climate. While the blanket of air close to the Earth’s surface is warming, most of the atmosphere above is becoming dramatically colder. The same gases that are warming the bottom few miles of air are cooling the much greater expanses above that stretch to the edge of space.

But the new discoveries about the scale of cooling aloft are leaving atmospheric physicists with new worries — about the safety of orbiting satellites, about the fate of the ozone layer, and about the potential of these rapid changes aloft to visit sudden and unanticipated turmoil on our weather below.