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Future decreases in thermospheric neutral density in low Earth orbit due to carbon dioxide emissions

Future decreases in thermospheric neutral density in low Earth orbit due to carbon dioxide emissions
Future decreases in thermospheric neutral density in low Earth orbit due to carbon dioxide emissions
Increasing carbon dioxide causes cooling in the upper atmosphere and a secular decrease in atmospheric density over time. With the use of the Whole Atmospheric Community Climate Model with thermosphere and ionosphere extension (WACCM‐X), neutral thermospheric densities up to 500 km have been modeled under increasing carbon dioxide concentrations. Only carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide concentrations are changed between simulations, and solar activity is held low at F10.7 = 70 throughout. Neutral density decreases through to the year 2100 have been modeled using four carbon dioxide emission scenarios produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The years 1975 and 2005 have also been simulated, which indicated a historic trend of −5.8% change in neutral density per decade. Decreases in the neutral density relative to the year 2000 have been given for increasing ground‐level carbon dioxide concentrations. WACCM‐X shows there has already been a 17% decrease in neutral densities at 400 km relative to the density in the year 2000. This becomes a 30% reduction at the 50:50 probability threshold of limiting warming to 1.5°C, as set out in the Paris Agreement. A simple orbital propagator has been used to show the impact the decrease in density has on the orbital lifetime of objects traveling through the thermosphere. If the 1.5°C target is met, objects in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) will have orbital lifetimes around 30% longer than comparable objects from the year 2000.
Carbon Dioxide, Climate Change, Space Debris, Thermosphere, low Earth orbit
2169-8996
Brown, Matthew Kenneth
5b01de4a-0a34-493c-9bef-026d8d9ba6e0
Lewis, Hugh
e9048cd8-c188-49cb-8e2a-45f6b316336a
Kavanagh, Andrew
08817d36-54a2-4f98-a553-a410c38aae28
Cnossen, Ingrid
d4a8fceb-3f3b-498a-ba9c-acbd5f2d64fc
Brown, Matthew Kenneth
5b01de4a-0a34-493c-9bef-026d8d9ba6e0
Lewis, Hugh
e9048cd8-c188-49cb-8e2a-45f6b316336a
Kavanagh, Andrew
08817d36-54a2-4f98-a553-a410c38aae28
Cnossen, Ingrid
d4a8fceb-3f3b-498a-ba9c-acbd5f2d64fc

Brown, Matthew Kenneth, Lewis, Hugh, Kavanagh, Andrew and Cnossen, Ingrid (2021) Future decreases in thermospheric neutral density in low Earth orbit due to carbon dioxide emissions. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 126 (8), [e2021JD034589]. (doi:10.1029/2021JD034589).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Increasing carbon dioxide causes cooling in the upper atmosphere and a secular decrease in atmospheric density over time. With the use of the Whole Atmospheric Community Climate Model with thermosphere and ionosphere extension (WACCM‐X), neutral thermospheric densities up to 500 km have been modeled under increasing carbon dioxide concentrations. Only carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide concentrations are changed between simulations, and solar activity is held low at F10.7 = 70 throughout. Neutral density decreases through to the year 2100 have been modeled using four carbon dioxide emission scenarios produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The years 1975 and 2005 have also been simulated, which indicated a historic trend of −5.8% change in neutral density per decade. Decreases in the neutral density relative to the year 2000 have been given for increasing ground‐level carbon dioxide concentrations. WACCM‐X shows there has already been a 17% decrease in neutral densities at 400 km relative to the density in the year 2000. This becomes a 30% reduction at the 50:50 probability threshold of limiting warming to 1.5°C, as set out in the Paris Agreement. A simple orbital propagator has been used to show the impact the decrease in density has on the orbital lifetime of objects traveling through the thermosphere. If the 1.5°C target is met, objects in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) will have orbital lifetimes around 30% longer than comparable objects from the year 2000.

Text
Paper_01___Thermospheric_density_decrease_Low_Solar_Activity (10) - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 3 April 2021
e-pub ahead of print date: 8 April 2021
Keywords: Carbon Dioxide, Climate Change, Space Debris, Thermosphere, low Earth orbit

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 448337
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/448337
ISSN: 2169-8996
PURE UUID: f57dffcf-4c8e-4e1e-8738-17175e94723b

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 20 Apr 2021 16:34
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 00:07

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Contributors

Author: Hugh Lewis
Author: Andrew Kavanagh
Author: Ingrid Cnossen

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