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Unabated Carbon Is Shrinking Earth's Upper Atmosphere, Scientists Warn - ScienceAlert

Unabated Carbon Is Shrinking Earth's Upper Atmosphere, Scientists Warn - ScienceAlert

Unabated Carbon Is Shrinking Earth's Upper Atmosphere, Scientists Warn - ScienceAlert
Nov 22, 2022 42 secs

Rising levels of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere could exacerbate efforts to clean up our increasingly cluttered shell of orbiting space junk.

According to two new studies, the greenhouse gas has significantly contributed to the contraction of the upper atmosphere.

"One consequence is satellites will stay up longer, which is great, because people want their satellites to stay up," explains geospace scientist Martin Mlynczak of NASA's Langley Research Center.

Up in the much, much thinner MLT, however, some of the infrared radiation emitted by CO2 escapes into space, effectively carrying away heat and cooling the upper atmosphere.

"There's been a lot of interest in seeing if we can actually observe this cooling and shrinking effect on the atmosphere," Mlynczak says.

"At every altitude, there is a cooling and a contraction that we attribute in part to increasing carbon dioxide," Mlynczak says


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