Research Spotlight: Conditions in the stratosphere influence the ionosphere


  • Ernie Tretkoff


Variations in the ionosphere, the charged upper portion of Earth's atmosphere (about 100–1000 kilometers in altitude), can affect radio communications and navigation systems. Solar activity is known to strongly influence the ionosphere; recently, though, scientists have recognized that lower levels of the atmosphere can also affect ionospheric conditions. These effects have been hard to see because the ionosphere varies so rapidly in response to solar and geomagnetic activity.