Articles | Volume 26, issue 5
28 May 2008
 | 28 May 2008

Emerging pattern of global change in the upper atmosphere and ionosphere

J. Laštovička, R. A. Akmaev, G. Beig, J. Bremer, J. T. Emmert, C. Jacobi, M. J. Jarvis, G. Nedoluha, Yu. I. Portnyagin, and T. Ulich

Abstract. In the upper atmosphere, greenhouse gases produce a cooling effect, instead of a warming effect. Increases in greenhouse gas concentrations are expected to induce substantial changes in the mesosphere, thermosphere, and ionosphere, including a thermal contraction of these layers. In this article we construct for the first time a pattern of the observed long-term global change in the upper atmosphere, based on trend studies of various parameters. The picture we obtain is qualitative, and contains several gaps and a few discrepancies, but the overall pattern of observed long-term changes throughout the upper atmosphere is consistent with model predictions of the effect of greenhouse gas increases. Together with the large body of lower atmospheric trend research, our synthesis indicates that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are affecting the atmosphere at nearly all altitudes between ground and space.