Quantifying the Spatial and Temporal Distribution of Aircraft Emissions in the Upper-Troposphere/Lower Stratosphere

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Mary A Cameron, Mark Z Jacobson and Sanjiva K Lele, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States
Aircraft emit water vapor, carbon dioxide, reactive nitrogen, black carbon, and trace hydrocarbons at cruise altitudes in the upper-troposphere/lower stratosphere. Depending on season and location, the exhaust may be emitted directly to the stable stratosphere, where emissions linger for long periods of time. This work discusses the products that form within an aged contrail, as well as the spatial and temporal distribution of these products. A 2006 aircraft emissions inventory was used with satellite-derived NASA Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder (AIRS) Level 3 daily tropopause height data fields to determine the fraction of aircraft emissions that were released into the stratosphere, particularly over the Arctic. Additional satellite and in-situ measurements were used to estimate the contribution of aircraft to background nitrogen and black carbon present near cruise altitudes.