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Role of aircraft soot emissions in contrail formation

Kärcher, B. and Yu, F. (2009) Role of aircraft soot emissions in contrail formation. Geophysical Research Letters, 36 (L01804), pp. 1-5. DOI: 10.1029/2008GL036649.

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Official URL: http://www.agu.org/journals/gl/gl0901/2008GL036649/2008GL036649.pdf


The susceptibility of microphysical properties of young contrails to changes in aircraft soot emissions is studied with a microphysical plume model. Liquid plume and ambient particles compete with exhaust soot particles for the formation of contrail ice particles, assuming that soot particles are activated into water droplets prior to homogeneous freezing. Soot controls ice formation in contrails for high number emission indices including the range of current global fleet values. A fivefold reduction of soot emissions from average levels of 5 x 10 14 - 10 15 (kgfuel) -1 approximately halves the initial contrail visible optical depth. Further soot reduction reverses this trend at temperatures well below the formation threshold temperature unless emissions of sulfur and organics are cut substantially. Whether and to which degree reductions in soot emissions help mitigate the contrail climate impact depends on subsequent aircraft wake vortex processing of contrails and their development into contrail cirrus.

Document Type:Article
Title:Role of aircraft soot emissions in contrail formation
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Yu, F.State Univ. of New York at Albany, Albany, NY, USA
Journal or Publication Title:Geophysical Research Letters
Refereed publication:Yes
In Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 1-5
Keywords:contrail formation, soot emissions, mitigation
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:ATM and Operation
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AO - Air Traffic Management and Operation
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Human Factors and Safety in Aeronautics
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Atmospheric Trace Species
Deposited By: Jana Freund
Deposited On:07 Jan 2009
Last Modified:12 Dec 2013 20:35

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