Greenhouse effects of aircraft emissions as calculated by a radiative transfer model
Abstract. With a radiative transfer model, assessments are made of the radiative forcing in northern mid-latitudes due to aircraft emissions up to 1990. Considered are the direct climate effects from the major combustion products carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, water vapor and sulphur dioxide, as well as the indirect effect of ozone production from NOx emissions. Our study indicates a local radiative forcing at the tropopause which should be negative in summer (–0.5 to 0.0 W/m2) and either negative or positive in winter (–0.3 to 0.2 W/m2). To these values the indirect effect of contrails has to be added, which for the North Atlantic Flight Corridor covers the range –0.2 to 0.3 W/m2 in summer and 0.0 to 0.3 W/m2 in winter. Apart from optically dense non-aged contrails during summer, negative forcings are due to solar screening by sulphate aerosols. The major positive contributions come from contrails, stratospheric water vapor in winter and ozone in summer. The direct effect of NO2 is negligible and the contribution of CO2 is relatively small.