Articles | Volume 21, issue 10
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 21, 7429–7450, 2021

Special issue: BLUESKY atmospheric composition measurements by aircraft during...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 21, 7429–7450, 2021

Research article 18 May 2021

Research article | 18 May 2021

Air traffic and contrail changes over Europe during COVID-19: a model study

Ulrich Schumann et al.

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Subject: Clouds and Precipitation | Research Activity: Atmospheric Modelling | Altitude Range: Troposphere | Science Focus: Physics (physical properties and processes)
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Cited articles

Abrahamson, J. P., Zelina, J., Andac, M. G., and Vander Wal, R. L.: Predictive model development for aviation black carbon mass emissions from alternative and conventional fuels at ground and cruise, Environ. Sci. Technol., 50, 12048–12055, 2016. 
Bauer, P., Thorpe, A., and Brunet, G.: The quiet revolution of numerical weather prediction, Nature, 525, 47–55,, 2015. 
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. 
Burkhardt, U. and Kärcher, B.: Global radiative forcing from contrail cirrus, Nature Clim. Change, 1, 54–58,, 2011. 
Short summary
The roughly 70 % reduction of air traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic from March–August 2020 compared to 2019 provides a test case for the relationship between air traffic density, contrails, and their radiative forcing of climate change. This paper investigates the induced traffic and contrail changes in a model study. Besides strong weather changes, the model results indicate aviation-induced cirrus and top-of-the-atmosphere irradiance changes, which can be tested with observations.
Final-revised paper