Articles | Volume 12, issue 24
Research article
17 Dec 2012
Research article |  | 17 Dec 2012

Selected topics on the interaction between cirrus clouds and embedded contrails

K. Gierens

Abstract. Persistent contrails and natural cirrus clouds often coexist in the upper troposphere and contrails can be embedded within cirrus clouds. The present paper deals with some questions regarding the interaction of cirrus clouds and embedded contrails. I have selected only questions that can be answered by analytical means. I find that (1) the emission index for water vapour is only slightly changed when an aircraft crosses a cirrus cloud, (2) that contrail formation is not affected by an ambient cirrus, (3) that cirrus ice crystals entrained into the trailing wing tip vortex do not efficiently retard the sublimation of contrail ice crystals, and (4) that cirrus can start to dissolve an embedded contrail after a couple of hours by aggregation.

Final-revised paper