Aircraft Contrails Stoke Warming, Cloud Formation. By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 3/29/11. “Aircraft condensation trails criss-crossing the sky may be warming the planet on a normal day more than the carbon dioxide emitted by all planes since the Wright Brothers' first flight in 1903, a study said on Tuesday. It indicated that contrails -- white lines of Vapor left by jet engines -- also have big knock-on effects by adding to the formation of high-altitude, heat-trapping cirrus clouds as the lines break up. The findings may help governments fix penalties on planes' greenhouse gas emissions in a U.N.-led assault on climate change. Or new engines might be designed to limit Vapor and instead spit out water drops or ice that fall from the sky…

“But a key difference is that CO2 lingers for decades while warming from contrails quickly ends if flights are grounded, such as after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, or in Europe after last year's Icelandic volcano eruption. ‘You can get rid of contrails very quickly. You can't get rid of CO2 quickly,’ lead author Ulrike Burkhardt at DLR told Reuters... Olivier Boucher, of the Met Office Hadley Center in England…said the findings might bring changes in air traffic control, for instance diverting planes from regions or altitudes where air moisture was high and favored cirrus formation. But a problem was that any benefits of fewer contrails might be canceled out by higher fuel use on longer routes.”

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