Newly published work by Nicolas Bellouin, Xinyue Wang and colleagues used satellite retrievals of cloud properties and a radiative transfer code to calculate the radiative forcing of two contrail-cirrus outbreaks over Western Europe in June 2020. During daytime, the outbreaks have a cooling effect, which switches to warming at night. Rerouting aircraft to avoid flying in regions where persistent contrail form is one strategy being explored to reduce the climate impact of aviation. The method used in this study, to quantify the hourly radiative impact forcing of contrail outbreaks from satellite retrievals, could be automated for verifying the climate benefits of these strategies.

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