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A contrail is the condensation trail that is left behind by a passing jet plane. Contrails are clouds, usually cirrus, formed when water vapor condenses and freezes around small particles (aerosols) that exist in aircraft exhaust. Some of that water vapor comes from the air around the plane; and, some is added by the exhaust of the aircraft. The exhaust of an aircraft contains both gas (vapor) and solid particles. Both of these are important in the formation of contrails. Some elements of the exhaust gasses are not involved in contrail formation but do constitute air pollution. Emissions include carbon dioxide, water vapor, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons such as methane, sulfates, and soot and metal particles.
So, what i should believe is that up until, about a week ago, there was enough moisture in the atmosphere, to form those "persistent lingering contrails"; and suddenly, there's not??? I find that highly unlikely; especially after seeing those long trails occur, all the time, for 3 years. Very rarely had i seen "condensation trails", until now. So, what's changed???
This trail of clouds normally forms at very high altitudes (usually above 26,000 ft) where the air is extremely cold (less than -40ºC). The temperature needed to create contrails depends on the ambient air pressure, temperature and humidity outside of the aircraft, and on the ratio of water vapor and heat released into the atmosphere by the aircraft exhaust. That is why sometimes you can see them and sometimes you can’t. This cloud formation is similar to the cloud you see on cold days when you exhale and "see your breath."
In order for a contrail to form, there must be enough moisture in the high levels of the atmosphere for the ice crystals to form around the airplane exhaust. If the upper atmosphere is very dry, contrails will not easily form, or will be of the short-lived type. Persistent contrails can last for hours to days, and spread over thousands of square kilometers, becoming indistinguishable from naturally occurring cirrus clouds.
Isn't it a bit strange to see "persistent lingering contrails", on a perfectly blue day; when, on a hazy day, these planes are leaving normal condensation trails?
Wunderkind actually said the opposite, referring to short trails in hazy skies, but isn't considering that the haze might not be where the trails are being left.
reply to post by WonderBoi
Why is it cloudy sometimes and not all the time?