This story was originally published by Yale Environment 360 and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
There is a paradox at the heart of our changing climate. While the blanket of air close to the Earth’s surface is warming, most of the atmosphere above is becoming dramatically colder. The same gases that are warming the bottom few miles of air are cooling the much greater expanses above that stretch to the edge of space.
This paradox has long been predicted by climate modelers, but only recently quantified in detail by satellite sensors. The new findings are providing a definitive confirmation on one important issue, but at the same time raising other questions.
The good news for climate scientists is that the data on cooling aloft do more than confirm the accuracy of the models that identify surface warming as human-made. A new study published this month in the journal PNAS by veteran climate modeler Ben Santer of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institutio... Read more