Linear contrail and contrail cirrus properties determined from satellite data
Article first published online: 19 JUN 2013
©2013. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 40, Issue 12, pages 3220–3226, 28 June 2013
How to Cite
2013), Linear contrail and contrail cirrus properties determined from satellite data, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, 3220–3226, doi:10.1002/grl.50569., , , , , , , , , and (
- Issue published online: 18 JUL 2013
- Article first published online: 19 JUN 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 20 MAY 2013 01:37AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 16 MAY 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 15 MAY 2013
- Manuscript Received: 22 APR 2013
- contrail cirrus;
- optical depth
 The properties of contrail cirrus clouds are retrieved through analysis of Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer data for 21 cases of spreading linear contrails. For these cases, contrail cirrus enhanced the linear contrail coverage by factors of 2.4–7.6 depending on the contrail mask sensitivity. In dense air traffic areas, linear contrail detection sensitivity is apparently reduced when older contrails overlap and thus is likely diminished during the afternoon. The mean optical depths and effective particle sizes of the contrail cirrus were 2–3 times and 20% greater, respectively, than the corresponding values retrieved for the adjacent linear contrails. When contrails form below, in, or above existing cirrus clouds, the column cloud optical depth is increased and particle size is decreased. Thus, even without increased cirrus coverage, contrails will affect the radiation balance. These results should be valuable for refining model characterizations of contrail cirrus needed to fully assess the climate impacts of contrails.