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How rerouting planes to produce fewer contrails could help cool the planet

James Temple of MIT Technology Review reports on ways to reduce contrails.

The C3 Take
  • Several studies have found that changing flight patterns slightly to limit contrails could reduce global emissions by as much as 2 percent.
  • Contrails form when planes release water vapor, heat, and particulate matter in cold, humid areas.
  • These contrails act as a blanket and prevent heat from leaving the atmosphere.
  • Reducing contrails could be done by adjusting less than 10 percent of total flights for a relatively small cost.

“In those simulations, the researchers found that reducing the warming effect of contrails by 73% increased fuel costs by just 0.11% and overall costs by 0.08%, when averaged across those tens of thousands of flights. (Only about 14% of the flights needed to be adjusted to avoid forming warming contrails in the simulations.)”

Read the full article here.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

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