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CONTRAILS

Aircraft Condensation Trails Monitoring

Development and demonstration of an EO-based service in support to the continuous assessment of the environmental effects of increasing volumes of air traffic, by monitoring the daily contrail and cirrus cloud coverage over Europe and the North Atlantic.

 

 
Project References
 Name CONTRAILS
 Title Aircraft Condensation Trails Monitoring
 Programme DUE (Data User Element)
 Theme Atmosphere
 Cost €500k
 Type Service Demonstration
 Status Completed (01/12/2003 - 28/11/2006)
 Sensors ENVISAT : AATSR
ENVISAT : MERIS
EOS-Aqua : MODIS
ERS-2 : ATSR-2
MSG : SEVIRI
NOAA : AVHRR
 
Project Description
 Objectives

Exhaust emissions from jet aeroplanes contain large amounts of water vapour which, under certain atmospheric states, will condense to form elongated cloud-like condensation trails in the sky. These contrails can have an environmental impact by modifying the radiative balance of the Earth-atmosphere system. This perturbation is caused by radiative forcing due to the contrails themselves, and possibly also due to the formation of persistent cirrus clouds which might not otherwise have existed.

The focus of the Contrails project was to develop and demonstrate an EO-based service in support to the continuous assessment of the environmental effects of increasing volumes of air traffic, by monitoring the daily contrail and cirrus cloud coverage, for one year, over Europe and the North Atlantic.

Contrails were mapped intensively for one year (2004) using several satellite sensors in order to capture as best as possible the diurnal variation. Cirrus cloud coverage and properties were also mapped using satellite data. By comparing the cirrus cloud maps with air traffic density maps, the relationship between changes in cirrus and air traffic density were investigated. An assessment of the radiative forcing of both the contrails and the cirrus changes were made. Finally, an independent assessment of EUROCONTROL's contrail formation model was made by comparing model based contrail maps with the satellite derived contrail maps.

With the aim of providing historical context for the one year intensive study period, contrail maps for the years 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000 were also prepared.

 
 Results Project Final Report
Validation Report (7Mb PDF)
 
 
Project Consortium
 Prime contractor DLR - IPA : German Aerospace Center - Institute of Atmospheric Physics
 Subcontractors KNMI : Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute
SAT DUNDEE : Dundee Satellite Receiving Station
 
User Partnership
 Users EUROCONTROL : European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation
 
Contact Points
 Project Manager Hermann Mannstein
Institut fur Physik der Atmosphare
Deutches Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V.
Oberpfaffenhofen, Postfach 1116, 82230 We├čling,
Germany.
Tel: +49-8153-28-2503
Fax: +49 8153 28 1271
Email: hermann.mannstein@dlr.de
 Technical Officer Simon Pinnock
European Space Agency - ESRIN D/EOP-SEP
Via Galileo Galilei
I-00044 Frascati (RM)
ITALY
Tel: +39 06-941.80573
Fax: +39 06 941.80552
Email: simon.pinnock@esa.int
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