Airplane contrails a potent cause of global warming

Global climate-warming carbon emissions are mounting day by day and
the aviation industry has been criticized but a new study disclosed that airplane white contrails has bigger warming effect, and can be triple by 2050.

Airplane contrails a potent cause of global warming

Planes create their mesmerizing contrails in the cold air and these formed clouds warm the climate. A 2011 study suggests that the net effect of these contrail contributes more to atmospheric warming than all the CO2.

One of the researchers explore how contrail clouds could affect the climate in the future. They modeled the effect of global contrail cloud coverage. Then, taking into account predictions for future air traffic and emissions, they modeled the effect of contrail clouds for 2050.

The researchers looked at another scenario for 2050, one with a 50% reduction in airplane soot emissions. They found that such a reduction could lead to a 15% decrease in the contrail clouds’ atmospheric warming effect.

But little is known about the relationship between climate warming and cloud coverage, and how atmospheric warming affects temperatures on the surface.

One solution, Burkhardt says, is to reroute flights. However, such rerouting may force planes to burn more fuel and release more CO2.

Andrew Gettelman, a cloud physicist says contrail cirrus clouds are a complex problem, but that their warming effect is still small compared with the overall amounts of CO2 belched by society. 

“If all we had were contrails, there wouldn’t be global warming.” But, he adds, it’s still important for the aviation industry to understand the science and “get their impact right.”

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