PerspectiveAtmospheric Science

Climate Change at Cruising Altitude?

Science  25 Jul 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5632, pp. 469-470
DOI: 10.1126/science.1086051

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The tropopause separates the turbulent lower atmosphere from the more quiescent stratosphere above. In his Perspective, Hoskins explains that the tropopause regulates the chemical exchange and dynamical interaction between the atmospheric layers. He highlights the report by Santer et al., who show that the height of the tropopause has changed over the past 20 years. They attribute this change mostly to increases in the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and to loss of ozone in the stratosphere. Climatic changes as a result of human activity are thus not confined to Earth's surface.