Articles | Volume 26, issue 5
Ann. Geophys., 26, 1255–1268, 2008

Special issue: The fourth IAGA-ICMA-CAWSES Workshop "Long-Term Changes and...

Ann. Geophys., 26, 1255–1268, 2008

  28 May 2008

28 May 2008

Emerging pattern of global change in the upper atmosphere and ionosphere

J. Laštovička1, R. A. Akmaev2, G. Beig3, J. Bremer4, J. T. Emmert5, C. Jacobi6, M. J. Jarvis7, G. Nedoluha5, Yu. I. Portnyagin8, and T. Ulich9 J. Laštovička et al.
  • 1Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Bocni II, 14131 Prague, Czech Republic
  • 2Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
  • 3Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune-411 008, India
  • 4Leibnitz-Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Schloss-Street 6, 18225, Kühlungsborn, Germany
  • 5Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C. 20375, USA
  • 6Institute for Meteorology, University of Leipzig, Stephanstr. 3, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
  • 7British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, CB3 0ET, UK
  • 8Institute for Experimental Meteorology, Lenin Str. 82, Obninsk 249038, Russia
  • 9Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory, Tähteläntie 62, 99600 Sodankylä, Finland

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.