A new study has found that the projected increase in rockets expected in the next few decades will hurt Earth’s climate and the planet’s protective ozone layer.
The study, led by researchers from the U.S. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has focused on the impact of fuel-fired rockets, such as SpaceX’s Falcon 9.
To date, the natural impact of rocket launches has mainly been ignored. Many experts have said that the amount of pollutants produced by space transmissions is minimal compared with other sources of pollution. For example, in a single year, the aviation industry alone burns 100 times more fuel than most rockets fired worldwide, according to experts.
However, the rate may change soon as the number of rocket launches, more than tripling over the past decade, continues to grow in the coming years.
The study analyzed the effects of a ten-fold increase in rocket launches, in line with current forecasts. Researchers have been interested in the content of extracts from the release of rockets that burned fossil fuels. Rockets inject about 1,000 tons of carbon daily into the world’s most polluted environments. These pollutants accumulate at high altitudes over the years and trap heat, warming those layers.
The study found that a tenfold increase in the number of ostriches injected into the stratosphere every 50 years would lead to a rise in annual temperatures ranging from 1 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.5 to 2 degrees Celsius). The stratosphere is a layer of atmosphere that extends beyond just the lowest troposphere. The study found that the proposed heat will reduce jet flow, strong winds circling the planet at the lower extremities of the stratosphere influencing the African and Indian summer rains.
Warm temperatures in the stratosphere can also deplete the protective ozone layer, preventing harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching the Earth’s surface.
The researchers found that a ten-fold increase in sediment concentration in the stratosphere would significantly affect ozone depletion in the Northern Hemisphere, especially in areas at least 30 degrees north of the equator.
“We need to learn more about the potential impact of hydrocarbon-powered engines on the stratosphere and the Earth’s climate,” said Christopher Maloney, a research scientist at NOAA’s Chemical Sciences Laboratory and lead author of the study the statement said. “With some research, we should be able to understand better the related effects of different rocket types on climate and ozone.”