Articles | Volume 10, issue 8
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 3933–3952, 2010
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 3933–3952, 2010

  27 Apr 2010

27 Apr 2010

Influence of vortex dynamics and atmospheric turbulence on the early evolution of a contrail

R. Paugam1,*, R. Paoli1, and D. Cariolle1,2 R. Paugam et al.
  • 1CNRS/CERFACS, URA 1875, Sciences de l'Univers au CERFACS, Toulouse, France
  • 2Météo France, Toulouse, France
  • *now at: Department of Geography, King's College London, London, UK

Abstract. This study describes three-dimensional numerical simulations of the evolution of an aircraft contrail during the first 30 min following the emission of exhausts. The wake is modeled as a vortex pair descending in a stratified atmosphere where turbulent fluctuations are sustained in the late dissipation regime. The focus of the study is laid on the interactions between vortex dynamics, atmospheric turbulence and contrail microphysics, and their role in determining the growth and the distribution of ice crystals. The atmospheric turbulence is synthesized using a methodology developed to force anisotropic turbulent fluctuations. The results show the feasibility of three-dimensional simulations of the early development of a contrail in supersaturated conditions before its transition into a contrail-cirrus. %(when radiative heating and sedimentation are no more negligible). It is shown that in case of strongly supersaturated and shear-free atmosphere the optical depth is maintained as the contrail spreads by turbulent diffusion in the late dissipation regime.

Final-revised paper