Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 11943-11949, 2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
17 Dec 2012
Selected topics on the interaction between cirrus clouds and embedded contrails
K. Gierens Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
Abstract. Persistent contrails and natural cirrus clouds often coexist in the upper troposphere and contrails can be embedded within cirrus clouds. The present paper deals with some questions regarding the interaction of cirrus clouds and embedded contrails. I have selected only questions that can be answered by analytical means. I find that (1) the emission index for water vapour is only slightly changed when an aircraft crosses a cirrus cloud, (2) that contrail formation is not affected by an ambient cirrus, (3) that cirrus ice crystals entrained into the trailing wing tip vortex do not efficiently retard the sublimation of contrail ice crystals, and (4) that cirrus can start to dissolve an embedded contrail after a couple of hours by aggregation.

Citation: Gierens, K.: Selected topics on the interaction between cirrus clouds and embedded contrails, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 11943-11949,, 2012.
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