Swedish researchers have discovered that the contrail of aircraft can significantly increase the shielding effect of clouds to sun rays. Thus, air traffic in addition to climate-damaging CO2 emissions would have a climate-friendly effect.

The contrail that pull aircraft in high altitude behind him, caused by water vapor and gases which meet very cold air. Meteorologically considered, they are nothing more than artificially generated Cirrus clouds. In view of the development of air transport in recent decades cloud formation has actually increased significantly due to this effect: in 33 million starts from passenger planes around the world in 2014 alone no wonder.

Air transport contributes around two percent to the man-made emissions of carbon dioxide. This simple effect due to the combustion of kerosene is not the only one, not even the most important: the UN IPCC IPCC assumes that the climatic effects of other aircraft outcast substances such as nitrogen oxides to multiples are greater.

A look in the middle of the clouds

Despite always more economical aircraft emissions by air traffic increases still every year by about three percent, simply due to steady growth. And now the thing is to have even a positive effect on the global climate. Like that?

So far, the IPCC assumed that at the contrail of “radiation drive low positive” is. Do you mean: the artificial clouds slightly enhance the greenhouse effect, because they also inhibit the dissipation of heat from the Earth. It is also the German Center for Aerospace from studying this effect with flights of his research aircraft Halo.

Researchers of Stockholm of University have studied specifically the contrail the impact now but along with British colleagues, arising within already existing clouds. There, they discovered an impact of the stripes on the so-called optical thickness of natural clouds.

No effect at all, supremely that makes sense

The scientists observed among other flight routes within the United States, from Honolulu to Los Angeles and from Seattle to San Francisco. For their analysis, they used data collected on the flights themselves, as well as measurements by satellites.

On the selected routes, they registered a significant increase reflective of clouds. “Close to the flight paths, the clouds were clearly bright, radiant,” reports Kevin Noone of Stockholm University, calculated yet with his colleagues, how strong is the climate effect of this operation.

Noone but restricts that this artificial cloud compression do not everywhere: in the vicinity of the Arctic circle or the equator.

Airbus is working on the concept of an electrically powered transport aircraft in Ottobrunn near Munich. Six electric turbines will bear the brunt, a Jet engine mounted in the rear at the start is switched on in addition. After starting, the engine will shut down heavily and used for generating electricity. Photo: Airbus

In order to save climate-damaging CO2, diesel-electric tugs be machines at Frankfurt airport. The pilots control though, but mention the nozzles. More read here. The climate effect would be even greater, however, withdraw the hybrid aircraft, which Airbus and NASA work. You should also have an electric drive and thus to emit much less CO2.