Articles | Volume 21, issue 3
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 21, 1649–1681, 2021
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 21, 1649–1681, 2021
Research article
09 Feb 2021
Research article | 09 Feb 2021

Impacts of multi-layer overlap on contrail radiative forcing

Inés Sanz-Morère et al.

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Cited articles

Baran, A. J.: From the single-scattering properties of ice crystals to climate prediction: A way forward, Atmos. Res., 112, 45–69,, 2012. 
Barker, H. W., Kato, S., and Wehr, T.: Computation of Solar Radiative Fluxes by 1D and 3D Methods Using Cloudy Atmospheres Inferred from A-train Satellite Data, Surv. Geophys., 33, 657–676,, 2012. 
Barker, H. W.: Representing cloud overlap with an effective decorrelation length: An assessment using CloudSat and CALIPSO data, J. Geophys. Res., 113, D24205,, 2008. 
Bedka, S. T., Minnis, P., Duda, D. P., Chee, T. L., and Palikonda, R.: Properties of linear contrails in the Northern Hemisphere derived from 2006 Aqua MODIS observations, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, 772–777,, 2013. 
Bickel, M., Ponater, M., Bock, L., Burkhardt, U., and Reineke, S.: Estimating the effective radiative forcing of contrail cirrus, J. Climate, 33, 1991–2005,, 2020. 
Short summary
Contrails cause ~50 % of aviation climate impacts, but this is highly uncertain. This is partly due to the effect of overlap between contrails and other cloud layers. We developed a model to quantify this effect, finding that overlap with natural clouds increased contrails' radiative forcing in 2015. This suggests that cloud avoidance may help in reducing aviation's climate impacts. We also find that contrail–contrail overlap reduces impacts by ~3 %, increasing non-linearly with optical depth.
Final-revised paper