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Volume 18, issue 13 | Copyright

Special issue: ML-CIRRUS – the airborne experiment on natural cirrus...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 9803-9822, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 12 Jul 2018

Research article | 12 Jul 2018

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

Aurélien Chauvigné1, Olivier Jourdan1, Alfons Schwarzenboeck1, Christophe Gourbeyre1, Jean François Gayet1, Christiane Voigt2,3, Hans Schlager2, Stefan Kaufmann2, Stephan Borrmann3,4, Sergej Molleker3,4, Andreas Minikin2,a, Tina Jurkat2, and Ulrich Schumann2 Aurélien Chauvigné et al.
  • 1Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique, UMR 6016 CNRS/Université Clermont Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand, France
  • 2Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • 3Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Universität Mainz, Mainz, Germany
  • 4Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Department for Particle Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
  • anow at: Flugexperimente, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany

Abstract. 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.

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This paper demonstrates a new form of statistical analysis of contrail to cirrus evolution. The authors show well-separated analyses of the different stages of the contrail's evolution, which allows us to study their optical, microphysical, and chemical properties. These results could be used to develop representative parameterizations of the scattering and geometrical properties of the ice crystals’ shapes and sizes, observed in the visible wavelength range.
This paper demonstrates a new form of statistical analysis of contrail to cirrus evolution. The...