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Volcanic Eruption Highlights Contrail Conundrum

“A single aircraft operating in conditions favorable for persistent contrail formation appears to exert a contrail-induced radiative forcing some 5000 times greater (in W m−2 km−1) than recent estimates of the average persistent contrail radiative forcing from the entire civil aviation fleet. This study emphasizes the need to establish whether similar events are common or highly unusual for a confident assessment of the total climate effect of aviation to be made.”

Haywood, J. M., R. P. Allan, J. Bornemann, P. Forster, P. N. Francis, S. Milton, G. Rädel, A. Rap, K. P. Shine, and R. Thorpe (2009), A case study of the radiative forcing of persistent contrails evolving into contrail-induced cirrus, J. Geophys. Res., 114, D24201, doi:10.1029/2009JD012650.

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