CONTRAILS AND INDUCED CIRRUS Optics and Radiation Academic Article uri icon


  • An understanding of the optical properties of contrails and contrail cirrus and enhancing the global satellite detection and retrieval of clouds benefiting the evaluation of the radiative impact of aviation-induced cloudiness on climate change is presented. Results from surface observation and satellite data show an upward trend of cirrus cloud over the past 50 yrs near the US flight corridors, and this increase corresponds to the rising trend of jet fuel consumption. The optical depths of contrails measured from passive satellite imagers are found to be between 0.1 and 0.5, but they can be much smaller, and values larger than 1 are not uncommon. Improved satellite detection of all types of contrails and contrail cirrus over the globe and developing effective algorithms to infer contrail optical depth and particle sizes along with their radiative environment is required.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 4.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Yang, P., Hong, G., Dessler, A. E., Ou, S., Liou, K., Minnis, P., & Harshvardhan.

citation count

  • 36

complete list of authors

  • Yang, Ping||Hong, Gang||Dessler, Andrew E||Ou, Steve SC||Liou, Kuo-Nan||Minnis, Patrick

publication date

  • April 2010