Statistical analysis of contrail to cirrus evolution during the Contrail and Cirrus Experiment (CONCERT)

Chauvigné, Aurélien; Jourdan, Olivier; Schwarzenboeck, Alfons; Gourbeyre, Christophe; Gayet, Jean François; Voigt, Christiane; Schlager, Hans; Kaufmann, Stefan; Borrmann, Stephan; Molleker, Sergej; Minikin, Andreas; Jurkat, Tina; Schumann, Ulrich

Air traffic affects cloudiness, and thus climate, by emitting exhaust gases and particles. The study of the evolution of contrail properties is very challenging due to the complex interplay of vortex dynamics and the atmospheric environment (e.g. temperature, supersaturation). Despite substantial progress in recent years, the optical, microphysical, and macrophysical properties of contrails and ambient cirrus during contrail formation and subsequent ageing are still subject to large uncertainties due to instrumental and observational limitations and the large number of variables influencing the contrail life cycle. In this study, various contrail cases corresponding to different aircraft types and atmospheric conditions are investigated using a statistical method based on the in situ optical measurements performed during the Contrail and Cirrus Experiments (CONCERT) campaigns 2008 and 2011. The two aircraft campaigns encompass more than 17 aircraft contrail cases. A principal component analysis (PCA) of the angular scattering coefficients measured by the polar nephelometer is implemented. The goal is to classify the sampled ice cloud measurements in several clusters representative of different contrail development stages (primary wake, young contrail, aged contrail, and cirrus). Extinction and asymmetry coefficients, nitrogen oxide concentrations, and relative humidity with respect to ice and particle size distributions are analysed for each cluster to characterize the evolution of ice cloud properties during the contrail to cirrus evolution. The PCA demonstrates that contrail optical properties are well suited to identify and discriminate between the different contrail growth stages and to characterize the evolution of contrail properties.



Chauvigné, Aurélien / Jourdan, Olivier / Schwarzenboeck, Alfons / et al: Statistical analysis of contrail to cirrus evolution during the Contrail and Cirrus Experiment (CONCERT). 2018. Copernicus Publications.


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