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Global aviation contrail climate effects from 2019 to 2021

Teoh, Roger and Engberg, Zebediah and Schumann, Ulrich and Voigt, Christiane and Shapiro, Marc and Rohs, Susanne and Stettler, Marc E. J. (2023) Global aviation contrail climate effects from 2019 to 2021. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Copernicus Publications. doi: 10.5194/egusphere-2023-1859. ISSN 1680-7316.

[img] PDF - Preprint version (submitted draft)

Official URL: https://egusphere.copernicus.org/preprints/2023/egusphere-2023-1859/


The global annual mean radiative forcing (RF) attributable to contrail cirrus is comparable to the RF from aviation’s cumulative CO2 emissions. Here, we simulate the global contrail climate forcing for 2019–2021 using reanalysis weather data and improved engine emission estimates along actual flight trajectories derived from Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast telemetry. Our 2019 global annual mean contrail net RF (62.1 mW m-2) is 44 % lower than current best estimates for 2018 (111 [33, 189] mW m-2). Regionally, the contrail net RF is largest over Europe (876 mW m-2) and the US (414 mW m-2), while the RF over East Asia (64 mW m-2) and China (62 mW m-2) are close to the global mean value because fewer flights in these regions form contrails as a result of lower cruise altitudes and limited ice supersaturated regions in the subtropics due to the Hadley Circulation. Globally, COVID-19 reduced the flight distance flown and contrail net RF in 2020 (-43 % and -56 % respectively vs. 2019) and 2021 (-31 % and -49 % respectively) with significant regional variation. Around 14 % of all flights form a contrail with a net warming effect, yet only 2 % of all flights account for 80 % of the annual contrail energy forcing. The spatiotemporal patterns of the most strongly warming and cooling contrail segments can be attributed to flight scheduling factors, aircraft–engine particle number emissions, tropopause height, background cloud and radiation fields, and albedo. Our contrail RF estimates are most sensitive to corrections applied to the global humidity fields, followed by assumptions on the aircraft-engine particle number emissions, and is least sensitive to radiative heating effects on the contrail plume and contrail-contrail overlapping. Accounting for the sensitivity analysis, we estimate a 2019 global contrail net RF of 62.1 [34.8, 74.8] mW m-2.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/198090/
Document Type:Article
Title:Global aviation contrail climate effects from 2019 to 2021
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Teoh, RogerImperial College London, London, UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Engberg, ZebediahOrca Sciences, Kirkland, WA 98033, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Schumann, UlrichDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-5255-6869UNSPECIFIED
Voigt, ChristianeDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-8925-7731UNSPECIFIED
Shapiro, MarcOrca Sciences, Kirkland, WA 98033, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Rohs, SusanneForschungszentrum Jülich, Jülichhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-5473-2934UNSPECIFIED
Stettler, Marc E. J.Imperial College London, London, UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date:10 October 2023
Journal or Publication Title:Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP)
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Publisher:Copernicus Publications
Series Name:Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Keywords:Global Aviation contrail, climate effects, contrail cirrus, CO2 emissions
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Earth Observation
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Atmospheric and climate research
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Cloud Physics
Institute of Atmospheric Physics
Deposited By: Keur, Natalie Desiree
Deposited On:13 Oct 2023 10:59
Last Modified:19 Oct 2023 15:07

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