Through my connection with JPAerospace.com, I’ve observed notable changes in the temperature of the atmosphere above 60,000 ft MSL. The first change was noted by Bob Berman and NOAA in about 2007. I was reading Bob’s amazing and enjoyable book about the sun, titled “The Sun’s Heartbeat,” from which I learned that the atmosphere above 60,000 ft MSL had significantly changed its temperature profile. Instead of the usual system, where at 60,000 ft it’s about minus 90 deg F, and at 100,000 ft it’s about minus 20 deg F, a warming of 70 deg F, the atmosphere, starting in 2007 or so, had stayed at the same temperature all the way up. That is, it was about minus 90 deg F from 60,000 ft all the way up to 100,000 ft. Why? Berman gave us the NOAA derived reasoning that the atmosphere below 60,000 ft was so thick with carbon dioxide that infrared rays from the sun could get through to the ground as usual, but the weaker rays reflected from the earth’s surface could not penetrate the thickened CO2 layers, so they could not reheat the atmosphere above 60,000 ft. This resulted in the same low minus 90 deg F all the way up to 100,000 ft, and perhaps beyond.
Caveat: This colder scenario held true for certain parts of earth, but temperature data for all of the atmosphere in different places around the earth was not closely examined by me. So there is some doubt in my mind about how widespread this cold phenomena was. Nonetheless, the reasoning seemed sound to me. We’ll see.
Then, something happened in 2015 and 2016. We started to note temperatures at 100,000 ft that were unusually warm, up to 20 deg F above zero. I used the same reasoning used to explain the earlier 2007 change. That is, the atmosphere was now so thick with CO2 below 60,000 ft that infrared rays coming from the sun could not easily penetrate the atmosphere below 60,000 ft. The infrared was heating the atmosphere above that level, and that gave us the 20 deg F readings at 100,000 ft.
Of course, this reasoning is an attempt at explaining cause, and we know that causation arguments always have an indeterminate amount of uncertainty. Even so, we must ask the question about our human-caused effect on climate. Does the new normal of high CO2 in the air portend global cooling, simply because infrared rays are now reaching the ground in less concentration? Maybe. Then we have the other possible cooling trend in the sun’s heat output as measured by the number of sun spots. We are just coming out of a low period of sunspot activity, a low period that was a bit lower than average. Will we have low sunspot numbers as we enter the higher phase of the sunspot cycle? What about the magnetic anomaly in the South Atlantic Ocean? Or, the fact that the north magnetic pole excursion precedes an ice age by something less than a thousand years? Conclusion is that we just don’t know how much, or which way, our activity on earth is moving the climate. Hotter? Or, colder? Our best answer is to stay tuned.
– L Paul Turner is the author of “The Space Trade Update.” Follow him on Twitter @BloonWhisperer. More information about JP Aerospace can be found at JPAerospace.com and in “Floating to Space,” signed by the author, available at the JP Aerospace store page. Follow JP Aerospace on Twitter @JohnMPowell1.