The gaseous ozone layer in the Earth’s atmosphere is shrinking rapidly. It has declined by 100 meters every decade since 1980. This is attributed to the increasing amount of greenhouse gases. In a study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters last week, there are concerns that if this trend continues, its thickness will be reduced by 1.3 km by 2080. Scientists fear this could damage the satellites by orbit around the Earth.
Why is it decreasing?
Researchers based on satellite data and climate models have reported that the lower stratosphere is warming due to climate change in the troposphere. Ozone gas is found in the stratosphere, which is approximately 12 to 50 km from Earth, which protects us from harmful radiation from the sun. The lower part of the stratosphere faces outward due to the warming of the troposphere. This layer shrinks as the amount of carbon dioxide increases.
Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told Canada’s National Observatory in 2016 that carbon dioxide cools in the stratosphere, causing it to shrink. Professor Paul Williams, of atmospheric sciences at the University of Reading, UK, said it could damage satellites in Earth orbit.
What will be the effect?
Paul states that if the shrinking of the stratosphere also results in other layers above it, there will be less air resistance in front of the satellites in the lower orbit. It can affect their path. Paul states that these layers are electrically charged and their changes can also affect the transmission of radio waves. For example, the ionosphere contains charged particles which are different from neutral gas atoms due to solar radiation. The resulting electrical conductivity produces electromagnetic waves that are used to study the electrical environment and weather conditions on Earth.