Stratosphere Definition

by Laurent Cousineau
(Montreal)

The stratosphere is a region within the atmosphere that lies between the troposphere and the mesosphere.

Its upper boundary is at about 50 kilometers. However, its lower boundary ranges from nearly 8 km at the poles to as much as 15 km at the equator.

Temperatures in the upper stratosphere will often increase with height because of the solar radiation absorbed by ozone inside the ozone layer.

In the lower stratosphere, temperatures may increase, decrease or even stay the same with altitude, depending on the latitude and the season.

Stratosphere and Climate Change

Due to the greenhouse effect, the temperature in the stratosphere will actually decrease while temperature in the troposphere below will increase.

This is because the greenhouse gases will absorb the sun’s radiation and reflect it back into the troposphere instead of letting it escape the atmosphere altogether.

If the global warming we are facing today was merely due to fluctuations in the sun's solar activity, then both the troposphere and stratosphere should be getting warmer.

However, this is not the case as per data recorded by scientists around the world.

Therefore, abrupt climate change is not only occurring, but it is anthropogenic as well.

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