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Can we successfully avoid persistent contrails by small altitude adjustments of flights in the real world?

Sausen, Robert and Hofer, Sina Maria and Gierens, Klaus Martin and Bugliaro Goggia, Luca and Ehrmanntraut, Rüdiger and Sitova, Ilona and Walczak, Kacper and Burridge-Diesing, Anja and Bowman, Milena and Miller, Nick (2023) Can we successfully avoid persistent contrails by small altitude adjustments of flights in the real world? Meteorologische Zeitschrift. Borntraeger Science Publishers. ISSN 0941-2948. (In Press)

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This paper describes the first-ever operational contrail avoidance trial in the real world, which took place in the region of Maastricht Upper Area Control (including the northwest of Germany, the Benelux countries and part of the North Sea) in the year 2021. Contrail avoidance could be an efficient method for mitigating the climate impact of aviation. Applying a deliberate experiment design, air traffic was deviated every other day by changing the flight altitude by up to 2000 ft up or down if potential persistent contrails were predicted. Whether deviations were successful on average was checked using satellite images of high clouds and by application of a contrail detection algorithm, which makes use of the properties of contrails. Despite the fact that forecasting persistent contrails remains a challenge, the trial was successful at a significance level of 97.5 %, i.e., on average persistent contrails can be avoided for regular flights in the real world with a small intervention in the vertical flight path. The experiment is an important step towards a regular operational reduction of the aviation climate impact by means of air traffic management. Nevertheless, many open questions need to be solved prior to an operational implementation of contrail avoidance or climate optimised flight trajectories in legal ATM procedures.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/195244/
Document Type:Article
Title:Can we successfully avoid persistent contrails by small altitude adjustments of flights in the real world?
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Sausen, RobertDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-9572-2393UNSPECIFIED
Hofer, Sina MariaDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-6148-2053UNSPECIFIED
Gierens, Klaus MartinDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-6983-5370UNSPECIFIED
Bugliaro Goggia, LucaDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-4793-0101UNSPECIFIED
Ehrmanntraut, RüdigerEurocontrol, Maastricht, NLUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Sitova, IlonaEurocontrol, Maastricht, NLUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Walczak, KacperEurocontrol, Maastricht, NLUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Burridge-Diesing, AnjaEurocontrol, Maastricht, NLUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Bowman, MilenaEurocontrol, Maastricht, NLUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Miller, NickEurocontrol, Maastricht, NLUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Journal or Publication Title:Meteorologische Zeitschrift
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Publisher:Borntraeger Science Publishers
Status:In Press
Keywords:contrail avoidance, aviation climate impact, real flight trial, ice super-saturated regions, contrail detection
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:Air Transportation and Impact
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AI - Air Transportation and Impact
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Climate, Weather and Environment
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Earth System Modelling
Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Cloud Physics
Deposited By: Sausen, Prof.Dr. Robert
Deposited On:31 May 2023 11:43
Last Modified:26 Jul 2023 09:25

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