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Aviation-induced radiative forcing and surface temperature change in dependency of the emission altitude

Frömming, Christine and Ponater, Michael and Dahlmann, Katrin and Grewe, Volker and Lee, David, S. and Sausen, Robert (2012) Aviation-induced radiative forcing and surface temperature change in dependency of the emission altitude. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 117 (D19104), pp. 1-15. American Geophysical Union. DOI: 10.1029/2012JD018204. ISSN 0148-0227.

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Official URL: http://www.agu.org/journals/jd/jd1219/2012JD018204/


The present study provides a detailed assessment of the net impact of global flight altitude changes on radiative forcing and temperature response. Changes in contrail coverage and chemical perturbations (H2O, O3, CH4) and associated radiative forcings were determined from simulations with a quasi CTM. Future development of global mean radiative forcing and temperature response was calculated by means of a linear response model. The range of possible effects arising from various future scenarios is analyzed, and tradeoffs between partially counteracting short- and long term effects are studied. Present-day global mean radiative forcing of short-lived species and CH4 is reduced when flying lower, whereas that of CO2 increases. The opposite effect is found for higher flight altitudes. For increasing and sustained emissions, the climate impact changes are dominated by the effect of short-lived species, yielding a reduction for lower flight altitudes and an increase for higher flight altitudes. For future scenarios involving a reduction or termination of emissions, radiative forcing of short-lived species decreases immediately, that of longer lived species decreases gradually, and respective temperature responses start to decay slowly. After disappearance of the shorter lived effects, only the counteracting CO2 effect remains, resulting in an increased climate effect for lower flight altitudes and a decrease for higher flight altitudes. Incorporating knowledge about the altitude sensitivity of aviation climate impact in the route planning process offers substantial mitigation potential. Scenarios and time horizons for the evaluation of future effects of mitigation instruments must be chosen carefully depending on the mitigation aim.

Document Type:Article
Title:Aviation-induced radiative forcing and surface temperature change in dependency of the emission altitude
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Frömming, ChristineDLR, IPA
Ponater, MichaelDLR, IPA
Dahlmann, KatrinDLR, IPA
Grewe, VolkerDLR, IPA
Lee, David, S.MMU, Manchester, UK
Sausen, RobertDLR, IPA
Date:3 October 2012
Journal or Publication Title:Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Refereed publication:Yes
In Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 1-15
Publisher:American Geophysical Union
Keywords:aviation, radiative forcing, climate impact, mitigation, flight altitudes
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:ATM and Operation (old)
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AO - Air Traffic Management and Operation
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Climate, Weather and Environment (old), V - Verkehrsentwicklung und Umwelt (old)
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Atmospheric Dynamics
Deposited By: Dr. Christine Frömming
Deposited On:18 Oct 2012 17:11
Last Modified:23 Jul 2015 16:21

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