Operationalizing Contrail Avoidance Virtual Workshop

Flying Airplane

NASA Langley Research Center and

George Mason University (GMU) Center for Air Transportation Systems Research

Operationalizing Contrail Avoidance (Virtual) Workshop


Background:

Scientific evidence suggests that the presence anthropogenic (human generated) clouds (i.e., contrails) contributes an estimated ~2% of total anthropogenic net radiative forcing (NRF) leading to global heating and it may account for approximately half of aviation’s overall contribution.

There is some uncertainty associated with the magnitude of the NRF and scientists are actively working to reduce this uncertainty.

There are several approaches to reducing the presence and NRF impact of contrails ranging from fuel adaptations, jet engine re-design, fuel additives, and alternative forms of aircraft propulsion. These approaches require additional research, testing, certification, and time to implement.

One approach that can reduce the presence of contrails in the very near future is to adjust the cruise levels of flights that are planned to traverse atmospheric conditions known as Ice Super Saturation Regions (ISSRs).

Studies have shown that on an average day, only 15% of the flights in the CONUS traverse an ISSR and generate contrails. Further, a 1000’ or 2000’ increase in Cruise Flight Level can reduce the presence of contrails by more than 67%. Further the cost of additional fuel burn for the additional climb is less than 1% and in many cases is washed-out by the Cruise at the more optimal Cruise Flight Level.

Implementation of control avoidance through Cruise Flight Level changes is an operational change that could be implemented at relatively low cost in a short space of time.

NOTE: In contrast to CO2 emissions that take 20-40 years to affect the climate, contrail avoidance has an immediate effect.

Focus:

As the scientists work to reduce the uncertainty in the magnitude of the contrail contribution to climate change, it behooves the air transportation community to plan for a day when contrail avoidance might be implemented. What additional information is needed to develop a mitigation approach?  What incentives/policy changes may be required?  What operational changes need to be implemented?

Intent/Outcomes:

The Workshop provided a forum for an open exchange of ideas and information regarding the emerging needs associated with contrail avoidance in the National Airspace.

The Workshop addressed:

  • Stakeholders impacted
  • Operational Procedures for all stakeholders through-out the life-cycle of a flight plan
  • Data sharing requirements
  • Scientific Models required and accuracy requirements
  • Contrail reduction verification
  • Design of pilot projects
  • Safety and Security
  • Policy implications

This initial workshop did not result in a definitive mitigation approach but led to recommendations on how the community can collaborate together to pursue such an approach with the potential creation of a continuing interest group.


Workshop Logistics Details: 

  • DATE: Wednesday, September 7, 2022
  • TIME: 12PM - 5PM ET (9AM - 2PM PT)
  • AGENDA: Available Here (for reference)

Workshop Recording & Presentation Materials: 

September 7, 2022

Topic

Speaker

Time

Presentation Materials

Session

Recordings

Introduction and Welcome 

Lance Sherry, GMU

2 minutes

N/A

Watch Here

NASA AOSP Welcome

Akbar Sultan, NASA

3 minutes

N/A

Watch Here

Climate Action Plan and Contrails 

Prem Lobo, FAA

30 minutes

Available Here

Watch Here

Framing the Workshop 

Lance Sherry, GMU

Andy Lacher, NASA

15 minutes

Available Here

Watch Here

Operational Experience with Contrail Avoidance  

Niels Lokman, EUROCONTROL

15 minutes

Available Here

Watch Here

What We Know and What We Don’t Know About the Science of Aircraft Contrails and Their Impact on Climate Change 

Ulrich Schumann, DLR

30 minutes

Available Here

Watch Here

Evaluating Contrails Experiments

Scott Geraedts, Google

15 minutes

Available Here

Watch Here

PANEL:  
Airline Perspective on Sustainability 

MODERATOR: 
Andy Lacher

Aaron Robinson,
United Airlines 

Jörg Oppermann,
Etihad Airways

45 minutes

N/A

Watch Here

Operational Perspective 

Ryan Makings, Airline Dispatchers Federation

15 minutes

Available Here

Watch Here

Flight Planning Tool Implications 

Adam Durant, Satavia

Marc Stettler, Orca Sciences

Stephen Altus, Boeing

45 minutes

Available Here

Watch Here

Challenges for Operational Mitigation of Contrails  

Steven Baughcum, Boeing

15 minutes

Available Here

Watch Here

Overview of the State-of-the-Art of Satellite Image Identification of Contrails 

Steven Barrett, MIT

15 minutes

Available Here

Watch Here

DISCUSSION: Looking to the Future

All the Above & Participants

15 minutes

N/A

Watch Here

 

Have additional questions? Email: arc-cal-nari@mail.nasa.gov

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