Full Title: A simple framework for assessing the trade-off between the climate impact of aviation carbon dioxide emissions and contrails for a single flight
Author(s): E A Irvine, B J Hoskins, and K P Shine
Publisher(s): Environmental Research Letters
Publication Date: 6/2014

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Description (excerpt):

Persistent contrails are an important climate impact of aviation which could potentially be reduced by re-routing aircraft to avoid contrailing; however this generally increases both the flight length and its corresponding CO2 emissions. Here, we provide a simple framework to assess the trade-off between the climate impact of CO2 emissions and contrails for a single flight, in terms of the absolute global warming potential and absolute global temperature potential metrics for time horizons of 20, 50 and 100 years. We use the framework to illustrate the maximum extra distance (with no altitude changes) that can be added to a flight and still reduce its overall climate impact.