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Process-based simulation of contrail cirrus in a global climate model

Burkhardt, Ulrike and Kärcher, Bernd (2009) Process-based simulation of contrail cirrus in a global climate model. Journal of Geophysical Research, 114 (D16201), pp. 1-13. DOI: 10.1029/2008JD011491.

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Aviation induces changes in global cirrus cloudiness by producing contrails. In the past, line shaped contrail coverage has been parameterized relying on the scaling of contrail formation frequency to observed values. Coverage due to irregularly shaped contrail cirrus, that develop from line shaped contrails, could not be estimated with this method. We introduce a process-based parameterization of contrail cirrus in a global climate model that does not rely on scaling and that is not restricted to line shaped contrails. A new prognostic cloud class, contrail cirrus, is introduced that is allowed to develop in the parameterized, fractional ice supersaturated area. Initial dimensions of the contrails and a parameter controlling their spreading in a sheared flow are constrained by observational data. In an idealized experiment contrail cirrus coverage is found to be dominated by a major contrail outbreak and scales with supersaturation rather than contrail formation frequency. The global distribution of young contrail coverage is smoothed out due to transport but overall values are similar compared to older estimates. Interannual variability of young contrail coverage can be as large as the mean coverage. The sensitivity of the model simulations to physical model parameters and to parameters concerning the comparison with observational data is studied. The associated uncertainty of global line shaped contrail coverage can be as high as 60% of the reference estimate (0.05%). The simulated coverage due to young contrails agrees reasonably well with most satellite observations of regional line shaped contrail coverage considering the sensitivity to the above parameters and the interannual variability.

Document Type:Article
Title:Process-based simulation of contrail cirrus in a global climate model
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Burkhardt, UlrikeUNSPECIFIED
Date:20 August 2009
Journal or Publication Title:Journal of Geophysical Research
Refereed publication:Yes
In Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 1-13
Keywords:contrails contrail cirrus climate climate model
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 Dynamics
Deposited By: Dr.rer.nat. Ulrike Burkhardt
Deposited On:09 Nov 2009 11:37
Last Modified:23 Jan 2014 11:36

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