P. Edronkin

Weather Forecasting Advice: Getting Acquainted With The Mesosphere



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The mesosphere is an atmospheric layer found above the stratosphere; its main characteristic is that a local maximum temperature occurs in it. The stratosphere is very cold, with temperatures well below zero degrees Celsius; on the other hand, the local temperature in the mesosphere varies between zero and thirty degrees Celsius.

This kind of thermal variation is more than enough to cause water condensation, but pressure in this layer is just too small and water molecules in general, being relatively heavier than those of other gasses, fall to lower layers, attracted by Earth's gravity. Because of this, there are no clouds in the mesosphere. At higher levels, the temperature descends to minus 1000 degrees Celsius.

For these reasons, the mesosphere does not have meteorological relevance in short-term measurements at least, but in the mesosphere and the two other outer atmospheric layers (ionosphere and exosphere), solar radiation becomes dangerous.

Indeed, for any kind of space travel, including sub-orbital flights, the outer layers of our atmosphere have a lot of significance, because heating thorough friction with the molecules already present there can deviate or damage any spaceship.

This friction tends to alter in the long run any orbit; it slows down all spacecraft on low orbits until they eventually fall back into the planet if no correction is made.




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