When that Austrian parachutist jumped Sunday, the temperature got colder as he descended...how did that happen?
Specifically, when the parachutist exited his specially designed capsule at 128,000 feet, it was warmer than when he descended to 70,000 feet. How could that be...a giant temperature inversion? Well, it's because he jumped into the second layer of the atmosphere, called the stratosphere, not the lowest layer, called the troposphere. This layer (the stratosphere) is where the ozone layer resides. That ozone reacts with ultraviolet radiation from the sun, which leads to warming...especially near the top of the stratosphere. Less ozone at lower altitudes within that layer results in less warming...and cooler temperatures. However, once the parachutist descended into the lowest layer, the troposphere, the temperatures did increase as he approached the ground...for a safe landing!