Condensation trails (contrails) formed by aircrafts are sometimes visible from the ground for several
hours. Numerous contrails are formed in the vicinity of main air- traffic routes; due to additional
spreading effects contrails may contribute significantly to the total cloud cover. Continuous
observational methods are used to study the formation of contrails in the subarctic setting of
Fairbanks, Alaska. Since March of 2000 a contrail database has been established, which includes
contrail characteristics, Federal Aviation Administration flight data, and atmospheric measurements
derived from radiosonde ascents at Fairbanks International Airport. The contrail analysis is based on
all-sky digital camera imagery and direct observations of aircrafts. 
NEW: Atmospheric Contrail Layer Calculator User's Guide available (1.3 MB) =>

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Database of Climate Change Information Sources
Northern Climate Change Schools Program
Project objectives:
=> Observation of aircraft contrail formation and characteristics; 
=> establishment of an extensive database; 
=> optimization and verification of algorithms describing the formation process of
   contrails; 
=> implementation of algorithms in contrail forecast models; MM5 (Mesoscale Model,
   Version 5)weather forecast data are used to provide pilots forecasts of layers
   in the atmosphere, where contrails are expected to form.


by Martin Stuefer, last update: 13.Apr.2006