“Plane tracks” in cirrus clouds

Monday, 14 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Matthias Tesche1, Peggy Achtert2, Paul Glantz3,4 and Kevin J Noone4, (1)University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, AL10, United Kingdom, (2)University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom, (3)Stockholm University, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry (ACES), Stockholm, Sweden, (4)Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Determining the effects of aircraft emissions on cirrus clouds already present in the atmosphere has proven to be challenging. Quantifying any such effects is necessary if we are to properly account for the influence of aviation on climate. Here we quantify the effect of aircraft on the optical thickness of already-existing cirrus clouds by matching actual aircraft flight tracks to satellite lidar measurements. We show that there are systematic, statistically significant increases in normalized cirrus cloud optical thickness inside mid-latitude flight corridors compared with adjacent areas immediately outside the corridors.