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Dehydration effects from contrails in a coupled contrail–climate model

Schumann, Ulrich and Penner, Joyce E. and Chen, Yibin and Zhou, Cheng and Graf, Kaspar (2015) Dehydration effects from contrails in a coupled contrail–climate model. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 15, pp. 11179-11199. Copernicus Publications. doi: 10.5194/acp-15-11179-2015. ISSN 1680-7316.

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Official URL: http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/15/11179/2015/acp-15-11179-2015.html


The uptake of water by contrails in ice-supersaturated air and release of water after ice particle advection and sedimentation dehydrates the atmosphere at flight levels and redistributes humidity mainly to lower levels. The dehydration is investigated by coupling a plume-scale contrail model with a global aerosol-climate model. The contrail model simulates all the individual contrails forming from global air traffic for meteorological conditions as defined by the climate model. The computed contrail-cirrus properties compare reasonably with theoretical concepts and observations. The mass of water in aged contrails may exceed 106 times the mass of water emitted from aircraft. Many of the ice particles sediment and release water in the troposphere, on average 700 m below the mean flight levels. Simulations with and without coupling are compared. The drying at contrail levels causes thinner and longer lived contrails with about 15 % reduced contrail radiative forcing (RF). The reduced RF from contrails is of the order 0.06 W m-2, slightly larger than estimated earlier because of higher soot emissions. For normal traffic, the RF from dehydration is small compared to interannual variability. A case with 100 times increased emissions is used to overcome statistical uncertainty. The contrails impact the entire hydrological cycle in the atmosphere by reducing the total water column and the cover of high and low-level clouds. For normal traffic, the dehydration changes contrail RF by positive shortwave and negative longwave contributions of order 0.04 W m-2, with a small negative net RF. The total net RF from contrails and dehydration remains within the range of previous estimates.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/97372/
Document Type:Article
Title:Dehydration effects from contrails in a coupled contrail–climate model
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Penner, Joyce E.Univ. Michigan, USAUNSPECIFIED
Chen, YibinUniv. Michigan, USAUNSPECIFIED
Zhou, ChengUniv. Michigan, 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-15-11179-2015
Page Range:pp. 11179-11199
Publisher:Copernicus Publications
Keywords:contrail cirrus climate radiative forcing dehydration
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
Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Atmospheric Remote Sensing
Deposited By: Schumann, Prof.Dr.habil. Ulrich
Deposited On:21 Jul 2015 18:40
Last Modified:02 May 2019 14:04

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