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Synoptic control of contrail cirrus lifecycles and their modification due to reduced soot number emissions

Bier, Andreas and Burkhardt, Ulrike and Bock, Lisa (2017) Synoptic control of contrail cirrus lifecycles and their modification due to reduced soot number emissions. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 122, pp. 11584-11603. Wiley. doi: 10.1002/2017JD027011. ISSN 2169-897X.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JD027011


The atmospheric state, aircraft emissions, and engine properties determine formation and initial properties of contrails. The synoptic situation controls microphysical and dynamical processes and causes a wide variability of contrail cirrus life cycles. A reduction of soot particle number emissions, resulting, for example, from the use of alternative fuels, strongly impacts initial ice crystal numbers and microphysical process rates of contrail cirrus. We use the European Centre/Hamburg (ECHAM) climate model version 5 including a contrail cirrus modul, studying process rates, properties, and life cycles of contrail cirrus clusters within different synoptic situations. The impact of reduced soot number emissions is approximated by a reduction in the initial ice crystal number, exemplarily studied for 80%. Contrail cirrus microphysical and macrophysical properties can depend much more strongly on the synoptic situation than on the initial ice crystal number. They can attain a large cover, optical depth, and ice water content in long-lived and large-scale ice-supersaturated areas, making them particularly climate-relevant. In those synoptic situations, the accumulated ice crystal loss due to sedimentation is increased by around 15% and the volume of contrail cirrus, exceeding an optical depth of 0.02, and their short-wave radiative impact are strongly decreased due to reduced soot emissions. These reductions are of little consequence in short-lived and small-scale ice-supersaturated areas, where contrail cirrus stay optically very thin and attain a low cover. The synoptic situations in which long-lived and climate-relevant contrail cirrus clusters can be found over the eastern U.S. occur in around 25% of cases.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/115516/
Document Type:Article
Title:Synoptic control of contrail cirrus lifecycles and their modification due to reduced soot number emissions
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Bier, AndreasDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-8016-3330
Burkhardt, UlrikeDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-0742-7176
Bock, LisaDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-7058-5938
Date:5 October 2017
Journal or Publication Title:Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 11584-11603
EditorsEmailEditor's ORCID iD
Keywords:contrail cirrus life cycle synoptic situation ice-supersaturated areas mitigation due to reduced initial ice crystal number
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)
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Earth System Modelling
Deposited By: Bier, Andreas
Deposited On:16 Nov 2017 15:22
Last Modified:28 Feb 2023 14:55

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