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Properties of individual contrails: A compilation of observations and some comparisons

Schumann, Ulrich and Baumann, Robert and Baumgardner, Darrel and Bedka, Sarah and Duda, David and Freudenthaler, Volker and Gayet, Jean-Francois and Heymsfield, Andrew J. and Minnis, Patrick and Quante, Markus and Raschke, Ehrhard and Schlager, Hans and Vazquez-Navarro, Margarita and Voigt, Christiane and Wang, Zhien (2017) Properties of individual contrails: A compilation of observations and some comparisons. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 17, pp. 403-438. Copernicus Publications. doi: 10.5194/acp-17-403-2017. ISSN 1680-7316.

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Official URL: http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/17/403/2017/


The lifecycle of individual (initially line-shaped) contrails behind aircraft and of contrail cirrus (aged contrails mixed with other ice clouds) is described. The full contrail lifecycle is covered, from ice formation for given water, heat and particulate emissions, changes in the jet, wake and dispersion phases, until final sublimation or sedimentation. Contrail properties are deduced from various in-situ, remote sensing and model studies. Aerodynamically induced contrails and distrails are explained briefly. Contrails form both in clear air and inside cirrus. Young contrails consume most of the ambient ice supersaturation. Optical properties of contrails are age and humidity dependent. Contrail occurrence and radiative forcing depends on the ambient Earth-atmosphere conditions. Contrail cirrus seems to be optically thicker than assessed previously and may not only increase cirrus coverage but also thicken existing cirrus. Some observational constraints for contrail cirrus occurrence and radiative forcing are derived. Key parameters controlling contrail properties, besides aircraft and fuel properties, ambient pressure, temperature and humidity, are the number of ice particles per flight distance surviving the wake vortex phase, the contrail depth, and particle sedimentation, wind shear, turbulence and vertical motions controlling contrail dispersion. The climate impact of contrails depends among others on the ratio of shortwave to longwave radiative forcing (RF) and on the efficacy with which contrail RF contributes to surface warming. Several open issues are identified, including re-nucleation from residuals of sublimated contrail ice particles.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/110458/
Document Type:Article
Title:Properties of individual contrails: A compilation of observations and some comparisons
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Schumann, UlrichDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-5255-6869
Baumgardner, Darreldarrel.baumgardner (at) gmail.comUNSPECIFIED
Bedka, Sarahsarah.t.bedka (at) nasa.govUNSPECIFIED
Duda, Daviddavid.p.duda (at) nasa.govUNSPECIFIED
Freudenthaler, VolkerLMU, MünchenUNSPECIFIED
Gayet, Jean-FrancoisUniv. Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand, FrankreichUNSPECIFIED
Heymsfield, Andrew J.NCAR, Boulder, CO, USAUNSPECIFIED
Minnis, PatrickNASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA, USAUNSPECIFIED
Quante, MarkusHelmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, GeesthachtUNSPECIFIED
Raschke, EhrhardUniv Hamburg und MPI für Meteorologie HamburgUNSPECIFIED
Vazquez-Navarro, MargaritaDLR, IPAUNSPECIFIED
Wang, ZhienUniversity of Wyoming, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Laramie, WY, USAUNSPECIFIED
Journal or Publication Title:Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.5194/acp-17-403-2017
Page Range:pp. 403-438
Publisher:Copernicus Publications
Keywords:contrail, measurements, review, data, ice, optical depth, remote sensing, in-situ
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:air traffic management and operations
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AO - Air Traffic Management and Operation
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Climate, Weather and Environment (old), R - Atmospheric and climate research
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Atmospheric Trace Species
Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Atmospheric Remote Sensing
Deposited By: Schumann, Prof.Dr.habil. Ulrich
Deposited On:12 Jan 2017 14:39
Last Modified:02 May 2019 14:05

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