Climate Change Keeps Space Debris Afloat Longer

By Aahil

October  27, 2022


Climate change-related alterations to Earth's atmosphere make it more difficult to remove hazardous debris from Earth's orbit.

Satellite operators have recently noticed that their satellites are disintegrating more quickly than ever due to deteriorating space weather.

On the other hand, space debris and abandoned satellites that are slowly descending through the atmosphere will continue to clog their orbits for a longer period of time.

Based on computer simulations of the entire atmosphere, Ingrid Cnossen, a research fellow at the British Antarctic Survey, came to those conclusions

She examined the evolution of the atmosphere over the previous 50 years and contrasted it with predictions made using hypothetical future emission scenarios

Carbon dioxide emissions are the cause of the changes in the upper atmosphere's climate that we observed over the past 50 years and that we anticipate will occur over the following 50, Cnossen said in the statement

The cooling brought on by greenhouse gasses is what leads to the thinning of the upper atmosphere, a paradoxical effect that contradicts what scientists observe happening closer to Earth

The heat that carbon dioxide absorbs is trapped in the lower atmosphere's tightly packed molecules.

In the upper atmosphere, the carbon dioxide molecules still absorb heat, but since there are not many molecules around to share the heat with, it soon gets radiated away into outer space.

Experts worry that this drag reduction can worsen the space debris problem that has concerned the space community for quite a few years now

The U.S. Global Surveillance Network now monitors 30,000 objects larger than 4 inches in Earth orbit

On top of that, about a million 0.4-inch-wide fragments hurtle around the planet, according to the European Space Agency

The situation is bound to get worse as the number of satellites in near-Earth space quickly rises with the deployment of new constellation

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