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Carbon dioxide in upper atmosphere causing satellites to speed up

The speed increase isn't likely to cause any issues (courtesy: NASA)
The speed increase isn't likely to cause any issues (courtesy: NASA)

Staff writers

November 15, 2012 — An increased concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth's thermosphere has caused satellites to speed up.

Carbon dioxide occurs naturally on Earth, but an increase in the upper atmosphere has prompted satellites orbiting the earth to pick up speed.

While this isn't likely to cause any problems, engineers have been forced to recalibrate some orbiting devices to compensate for the speed-up.

CO2 helps maintain global temperatures, but studies have shown that an increased concentration traps heat, causing changes in global temperatures.

In the upper atmosphere, CO2 acts as a coolant, resulting in fewer molecules in the earth's orbit, allowing the satellites to move faster.

The findings have been published online at

With files from Nature and Ars Technica

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