Planes Are Accelerating The Climate Change More Than Previously Estimated

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Who, at least once in their life, haven’t looked at the lengthy trails made by planes on the blue sky and thought they were lovely? Well, it appears that as lovely as they may seem, they are causing an impact on Earth’s climate change. And it is not a positive one. Jet contrails are estimated to triple by 2050.

Air travel has flourished considerably in the last decades worldwide; between 1980 and 2000 the flights doubled in number. And they are estimated to triple by 2050. The greatest impact will be made by Britain, the US and Europe, as they have developed as the busiest airport traffic areas on the planet.

Contrails are clouds shaped in long, thin lines produced by the exhaust of plane engines. What’s more, contrails can form into big groups of cirrus clouds. A study issued in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics showed that contrails (or condensation trails) are partly responsible to global warming because they don’t reflect sunlight and create the phenomenon known as climate forcing (or radiative forcing).

Planes are accelerating the climate change more than previously estimated

Climate forcing means that Earth is not able to radiate the sunlight back to space, thus causing atmospheric warming. It was determined that in 2005, air traffic and contrails had a 5% contribution to global warming, contrails causing more damage than all carbon dioxide emanated by aircraft since the beginning of aviation.

The UN (United Nations) signed the Corsia (Carbon Offsetting and Reducing Scheme for International Aviation) agreement as an attempt to decrease the production of CO2 and to manage to attain zero CO2 emissions by compensating carbon emissions with carbon removal.

One of the means this could be realized is by utilizing alternative fuels. But the best way to reduce the impact of contrail cirrus is to prevent them from forming altogether and increasing climate change.

Doris’s passion for writing started to take shape in college where she was editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. Even though she ended up working in IT for more than 7 years, she’s now back to what he always enjoyed doing. With a true passion for technology, Doris mostly covers tech-related topics.