Scientists have long thought that the outer edge of the atmosphere was a quiet place. Little wind, they thought, ever blew there. They knew that at 100,000 ft. the temperature hovered at 40°F rose to zero at 120,000 ft.; that air density there was only 1/180 of what it is at sea level.
But last week, University of Chicago Meteorologist Herbert Riehl, 44, reported that the high, thin air above 100,000 ft.
is swept by raging, 130-m.p.h. winds that blow fiercely for a day or a week, then subside inexplicably into dead calmthen reverse themselves and blow in the opposite direction.