I came across this report while searching for information linking contrails and global warming.
It is from the Ends Report , Environmental Intelligence for Professionals, I had to sign up to receive the report so you will not find it at the link
provided, only the headline, which you can also find by searching google news.
You would think that during all of the years since global warming has hit the headlines they would have made the link between global warming and
contrails a bigger issue.
Here is the report.
Aviation condensation doubles warming
ENDS Report 435, April 2011, p. 16
3 May 2011
The world is cloudier and warmer because of aviation. Jet condensation trails – contrails – can spread into high-altitude cirrus clouds. These
have a greater warming effect than aviation’s carbon dioxide emissions, claim a team of German atmospheric physicists.
Water vapour in jet engine exhaust condenses into contrails criss-crossing the sky. These contrails have their own warming impact, but it is small
because the straight-line clouds only cover a tiny fraction of the earth’s surface.
Research published in the new journal Nature Climate Change shows how these contrails can spread, when weather conditions are just right, into much
larger areas of cirrus cloud that would otherwise not have formed.1
The research models the formation and effect of these clouds and shows their warming effect exceeds that of aviation carbon emissions. So aviation’s
climate impact is at least double that of CO2 alone.
From next year, aviation emissions will be part of the EU emissions trading scheme. This will be on a CO2-only basis due to doubts in the evidence for
non-CO2 warming impacts (see pp 35-36).
Link to Ends Report Page
Contrails Worse for Climate Change Than Planes’ Carbon Emissions
Air travel has come under fire for its potential contributions to climate change. Most people probably assume that its impact comes through carbon
emissions, given that aircraft burn significant amounts of fossil fuel to stay aloft. But the carbon released by air travel remains a relatively minor
part of the global output; The impact of planes results from where they burn the fuel, not the mere fact that they burn it.
A study in the brand-new journal Nature Climate Change reinforces that by suggesting that the clouds currently being generated by air travel have a
larger impact on the climate than the cumulative emissions of all aircraft ever flown.
That fact isn’t mentioned in the article at all, however (it’s part of a Nature press release on the paper). What the authors do consider is the
fact that carbon emissions are only one of the impacts of aviation.
Link to Wired