Articles | Volume 6, issue 2
Earth Syst. Dynam., 6, 555–568, 2015
Earth Syst. Dynam., 6, 555–568, 2015

Research article 02 Sep 2015

Research article | 02 Sep 2015

Ice supersaturation and the potential for contrail formation in a changing climate

E. A. Irvine and K. P. Shine

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Revised manuscript accepted for ESD
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Cited articles

Burkhardt, U., Kärcher, B., Ponater, M., Gierens, K., and Gettelman, A.: Contrail cirrus supporting areas in model and observations, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L16808,, 2008.
Davini, P. and Cagnazzo, C.: On the misinterpretation of the north Atlantic oscillation in CMIP5 models, Clim. Dynam., 43, 1497–1511,, 2013.
Deuber, O., Matthes, S., Sausen, R., Ponater, M., and Ling, L.: A physical metric-based framework for evaluating the climate trade-off between CO2 and contrails – the case of lowering flight trajectories, Environ. Sci. Policy, 25, 176–185,, 2013.
Short summary
Aviation impacts on climate via contrails, which are often clearly visible in the sky. Contrail formation requires particular cold/moist atmospheric conditions at aircraft cruise altitudes. Climate change is expected to change these conditions. Using simulations from several climate models we conclude that, by 2100, the probability of contrail formation could decrease from 11 to 7%, mostly due to changing conditions in the tropics. There is no consensus on the likely change in mid-latitudes.
Final-revised paper