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Airplane contrails worse than CO2 emissions for global warming: study

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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 07:09 AM
Original message
Airplane contrails worse than CO2 emissions for global warming: study
(PhysOrg.com) -- In a recent study published in Nature Climate Change, Dr. Ulrike Burkhardt and Dr. Bernd Karcher from the Institute for Atmospheric Physics at the German Aerospace Centre show that the contrails created by airplanes are contributing more to global warming that all the CO2 that has been caused by the entire 108 years of airplane flight.

Airplane contrails are the white clouds that we see in the sky spreading behind jets. These cirrus clouds are created when the hot, moist air released from the plane freezes in the colder and drier air. These clouds then trap the long-wave radiation from Earth and create a warming of the atmosphere.

In their study, Burkhardt and Karchar utilized satellite imagery of these spreading contrails to create a computer model which estimates how the contrails affect the Earths temperature.

They have discovered that aviation contrails play a huge role in the impact on the climate and an even greater impact than that created by the CO2 emissions produced. While the CO2 emissions from airplanes account for around three percent of the annual CO2 emissions from all fossil fuels and change the radiation by 28 milliwatts per square meter, the aviation contrails are responsible for a change of around 31 milliwatts per square meter.

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-03-airplane-contrails-...
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Teaser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 07:12 AM
Response to Original message
1. problematic title
They are certainly not causing more warming than all the CO2 emitted by all post-industrial sources. They may be causing more warming than all the CO2 emitted by jets.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 07:19 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Not to mention this quote from the article:
The only difference is that CO2 has a longer life than that of the contrails, and can still continue to cause warming even hundreds of years down the road.

I also wonder, if the concern is the cloud-like effect of contrails, did they consider the sunlight-reflecting properties of clouds as well? Contrails would reflect a certain amount of sunlight back into space, thus countering their temporary warming effect. Seems to be a rather poorly-written article, but then again, is there any other kind of science reporting today?
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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 07:43 AM
Response to Original message
3. But they need the chemtrails to spread the fnord
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greytdemocrat Donating Member (614 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 08:24 AM
Response to Original message
4. LOL!!!
Where is OneBlueSky when you need him???
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RC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 08:44 AM
Response to Original message
5. I'm a little skeptical of this article.
It seems that more and more of our "Science" is becoming what someone wants it to be, rather than what it actually is.
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NV Whino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 09:09 AM
Response to Original message
6. Not to worry
The airline industry is dying.
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