Stratospheric ozone affects mesospheric temperature trends


  • Colin Schultz


Since 1961, temperatures in the summer mesosphere have undergone a series of reversals. From 1961 to 1979 the atmospheric layer that stretches from roughly 50- to 100-kilometer altitude cooled by 0.5 K per decade. In the subsequent 2 decades the rate of cooling escalated to −3 to −5 K per decade, while the next 10 years saw a mild recovery. Though these temperature flips are seen in the observational record, they have never been reliably re-created in computer models of the middle atmosphere. Unlike the troposphere or stratosphere, for which there are extensive records, observations of mesospheric temperature are limited to point-source detections, making accurate modeling particularly important.