Climate Changing Noctilucent Clouds of the Mesosphere


Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 02 July 2018

 

 

Climate Changing Clouds

Noctilucent Clouds of the Mesosphere

Climate change is making night-shining clouds more visible,
American Geophysical Union, July 2, 2018.


Noctilucent Clouds

What
"Humans first observed noctilucent clouds in 1885, after the eruption of Krakatoa volcano in Indonesia..."

"Noctilucent, or night-shining, clouds are the highest clouds in Earth’s atmosphere. They form in the middle atmosphere, or mesosphere, roughly 80 kilometers (50 miles) above Earth’s surface. The clouds form when water vapor freezes around specks of dust from incoming meteors."

Changes
"Increased water vapor in Earth’s atmosphere due to human activities is making shimmering high-altitude clouds more visible."

Mechanism
"Carbon dioxide warms Earth’s surface and the lower part of the atmosphere, but actually cools the middle atmosphere where noctilucent clouds form. In theory, this cooling effect should make noctilucent clouds form more readily."

Scales of Change
"The study’s results suggest methane emissions have increased water vapor concentrations in the mesosphere by about 40 percent since the late 1800s, which has more than doubled the amount of ice that forms in the mesosphere. They conclude human activities are the main reason why noctilucent clouds are significantly more visible now than they were 150 years ago."

"People living in the mid to high latitudes now have a good chance of seeing noctilucent clouds several times each summer, Lübken said. In the 19th century, they were probably visible only once every several decades or so."

 

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climate change doubles noctilucent clouds of the mesophere

 

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