What is it about?

We show temperature changes in the Earth's atmosphere from the troposphere to the stratosphere up to 50 km. We analyzed observations for 1979–2018, with more than 40 years of meteorological satellite data and novel observations from GPS radio occultation at hand. Over the last four decades, the lowermost atmosphere has warmed significantly due to increase in greenhouse gases, while the layer above has cooled (from ozone changes and greenhouse gas radiation into space). The observed warming in the troposphere is even more markedly than surface warming.

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Why is it important?

We inform about the current state of temperature changes in the Earth's atmosphere using the latest available observational records. Consistent and continuous observations of air temperatures are critical for improving understanding of climate change.


The study findings have some far-reaching consequences. Changes in the temperature of these atmospheric layers influence complex interactions with the Earth’s surface and the oceans, affecting large-scale circulation patterns that shape our global weather patterns. The warming trends in the troposphere are due to increased greenhouse gases, a significant reduction in carbon dioxide remains essential to prevent related impacts from these changes like extreme events.

Andrea K. Steiner
Karl-Franzens-Universitat Graz

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Observed Temperature Changes in the Troposphere and Stratosphere from 1979 to 2018, Journal of Climate, August 2020, American Meteorological Society,
DOI: 10.1175/jcli-d-19-0998.1.
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