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Sensitivity of contrail coverage and contrail radiative forcing to selected key parameters

Frömming, Christine and Ponater, Michael and Burkhardt, Ulrike and Stenke, Andrea and Pechtl, Susanne and Sausen, Robert (2011) Sensitivity of contrail coverage and contrail radiative forcing to selected key parameters. Atmospheric Environment, 45, pp. 1483-1490. DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2010.11.033.

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Official URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=PublicationURL&_tockey=%23TOC%236055%232011%23999549992%232886831%23FLA%23&_cdi=6055&_pubType=J&_auth=y&_acct=C000007338&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=100058&md5=1b30d9822e83fa62134d3d2458220ae3

Abstract

Estimates of global mean radiative forcing of line-shaped contrails are associated with a high level of uncertainty. Recent estimates for present day air traffic range from 5.4 mW/m2 to 25.6 mW/m2. The aim of this research paper is to systematically study the sensitivity of contrail radiative forcing to selected key parameters and to highlight the most important factors for this large uncertainty range, while employing an improved version of the ECHAM climate model. The dominating parameters on contrail radiative forcing are found to be the detection threshold used for calibrating contrail coverage to observations, and the mean optical depth. Assuming a detection threshold of 0.05 instead of 0.02 yields an increase of the total coverage, resulting in a 146 % increase of global mean contrail radiative forcing. Employing a globally constant optical depth of up to 0.3, increases the net radiative forcing by 140 % over the reference case with a mean optical depth of 0.08. An upgraded parameterisation of potential contrail coverage yields a significantly larger amount of tropical contrails, increasing the contrail radiative forcing by 53 %. The calibration to an alternative observation region along with the assumption of a higher visibility threshold yields an increase of the radiative forcing by 46 %. Moderate sensitivity of global contrail radiative forcing (~15 %) is found for an improvement of model climate and for changes in particle shape. The air traffic inventory, air traffic density parameter, and the diurnal variation of air traffic have only a small effect on global and annual mean contrail radiative forcing, but their influence on regional and seasonal contrail radiative forcing may nevertheless be important.

Document Type:Article
Title:Sensitivity of contrail coverage and contrail radiative forcing to selected key parameters
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Frömming, Christinechristine.froemming@dlr.de
Ponater, Michaelmichael.ponater@dlr.de
Burkhardt, Ulrikeulrike.burkhardt@dlr.de
Stenke, Andreaandrea.stenke@env.ethz.ch
Pechtl, Susannesusanne.pechtl@gmx.de
Sausen, Robertrobert.sausen@dlr.de
Date:2011
Journal or Publication Title:Atmospheric Environment
Refereed publication:Yes
In Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:45
DOI:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2010.11.033
Page Range:pp. 1483-1490
Status:Published
Keywords:air traffic, aviation, climate impact, contrail coverage, radiative forcing, optical depth
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics, Transport
HGF - Program Themes:ATM and Operation, Transport System
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics, Transport
DLR - Program:L AO - Air Traffic Management and Operation, V VS - Verkehrssystem
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Climate, Weather and Environment, V - Verkehrsentwicklung und Umwelt (old)
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Atmospheric Dynamics
Deposited By: Dr. Christine Frömming
Deposited On:06 Dec 2010 16:23
Last Modified:12 Dec 2013 21:08

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