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In a companion paper, a pronounced phase transition was found to occur between the troposphere and the tropopause/stratosphere regions. In this paper, it is argued that this phase change is due to the formation of multimers of the main atmospheric gases (N2 and O2) in the tropopause/stratosphere.
This has several implications for our current understanding of the physics of the Earth’s atmosphere: (1) It offers a more satisfying explanation as to why stratospheric temperatures increase with altitude, than the previous explanation that it is due to absorption of ultraviolet radiation by ozone. (2) It provides an explanation for the high wind speeds associated with the jet streams. (3) It provides an additional mechanism for the emission of infra-red and microwave radiation from the tropopause/stratosphere. (4) It provides a new mechanism for infra-red emission from the tropopause. (5) It suggests a faster mechanism for the formation of ozone in the ozone layer than the conventional Chapman mechanism.
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Supplementary Information available on the Figshare website: http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.971140