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The contribution of aviation NOx emissions to climate change: Are we ignoring methodological flaws?

Grewe, Volker and Matthes, Sigrun and Dahlmann, Katrin (2019) The contribution of aviation NOx emissions to climate change: Are we ignoring methodological flaws? Environmental Research Letters, 14 (12), 121003/1-4. Institute of Physics (IOP) Publishing. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab5dd7. ISSN 1748-9326.

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Official URL: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ab5dd7


The contribution of aviation to anthropogenic climate change results from CO2 and non-CO2 emissions. Latter comprises emissions of nitrogen oxides, water vapour, and aerosols as well as contrail and contrail- cirrus effects. A series of updates can be noted in recent studies related to the effects of NOx-emissions; the inclusion of two physical processes and an updated radiation calculation (see below). However, in our opinion, two further published methodological shortcomings have not been fully considered which leads to a considerable underestimation of the contribution of aviation’s NOx emissions to climate change. First, methane response calculations implicitly assume steady-state instead of an adequate transient development. Second, most studies determine ozone changes caused by switching off or reducing aviation NOx emissions, instead of calculating aviation contributions to ozone. Such methodological simplifications largely underestimate the contribution of the aviation NOx emissions to climate change by a factor of 6 to 7 and can thereby be considered as flaws. Note that the contribution of an emission to climate change (=”status report”) and the contribution of a change in emissions to climate change (=”mitigation option”) require different calculation methods. While for calculating the contribution of emissions to atmospheric compositions (and hence climate change), to which we are referring here, a clear recommendation was made, the methodological approach for evaluating mitigation measures might still be ambiguous, but should certainly not ignore the results of contribution calculations.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/131988/
Document Type:Article
Title:The contribution of aviation NOx emissions to climate change: Are we ignoring methodological flaws?
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Grewe, VolkerDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-8012-6783
Matthes, SigrunDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-5114-2418
Dahlmann, KatrinDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-3198-1713
Date:19 December 2019
Journal or Publication Title:Environmental Research Letters
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:121003/1-4
Publisher:Institute of Physics (IOP) Publishing
Keywords:Aviation NOx; CLimate impact of aviations; RF
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: Grewe, Prof. Dr. Volker
Deposited On:05 Dec 2019 13:19
Last Modified:27 May 2020 12:19

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