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Contrails, "Chemtrails," and Global Warming

contrails chemtrails global warming climate change geoengineering earths environment

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#1    nosuchthing

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 08:54 PM

In light of a thread I happened to come across within the 'Conspiracies & Secret Societies' section of this forum titled "Chemtrails, the proof" I happened to realize there is a great deal of confusion and a number of misconceptions regarding the proposed reality of what have come to be known by some as "chemtrails" and their relation to what are, in actuality, contrails.

Technically speaking, contrails can be considered chemtrails. I state this because contrails do, in fact, contain chemicals. With that said, when most people speak of "chemtrails" they do not do so with that stated connotation in mind. The term "chemtrail" is most often attributed to the belief that something other than contrails are being sprayed across our skies for the purposes of either poisoning Earth's inhabitants and/or geoengineering the planet. The reality, however, is that "chemtrails" are not needed to bring about these concerns. I haven't researched whether or not contrails are indirectly causing illnesses among us, but there is scientific research which indicates contrails may be a serious contributor to the global warming phenomenon. Some may also choose to regard global warming as climate change, but nonetheless, the two terms share a very close relation and do pertain to one another.

In future posts I will provide further information on this topic, but in the meantime here are three articles I have come across discussing the negative impact contrails appear to be having on the climate of Earth.


#2    ChrLzs

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 04:13 AM

This needs to be kept in context - the new study *estimates* (note what that word means!) that the contribution to human-induced climate change may be between 2% and 14%.

First up, like I said, that is an estimate.  Second - just look at that range - 2-14%???  That's a factor of 7x in terms of uncertainty.

The big problem here is that contrails will only last for long periods *when the conditions are right* for high level cirrus clouds.  In other words, to work out just how much they actually ADD to the warming effect, there needs to be some way to determine whether cirrus clouds would or would not have formed in that patch *anyway*.  And that is an extraordinarily difficult thing to do! Indeed, I invite you to suggest some methods by which you might do that...   Now these researchers have made a genuine effort to create models to try to make that estimate.. but it is very obvious from that 7x uncertainty that this type of study is really just the first baby steps on the way to coming up with some genuine numbers.  We already know how much CO2 and other chemicals are introduced by jet aircraft - that is relatively easy to simply measure.  But working out whether or not clouds might have formed anyway is a whole different ball game.

To quote from the authors of the study:

Quote

Reducing the uncertainty in the evaluation of contrail-cirrus radiative forcing requires more and better observational data sets
and from the first link you gave:

Quote

Although the work of Burkhardt and Kärcher offers some exciting pointers as to how the impacts of aviation on the climate system might be reduced, the uncertainties remain large. Given the urgency of the issue, it is important that research on the climate impacts of contrails and on how contrails could be mitigated through technological advances or operational changes in the aviation industry are pursued in parallel.


And 'technically speaking', NO, in this context contrails cannot be considered 'chemtrails' as that word has a common usage meaning that is quite specific.  Using that word in this thread could be seen as trying to muddy the waters.  If anyone here wants to debate the silliness of the 'chemtrail' conspiracy, please go here and give it your best shot *after* reading the entire thread..

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#3    mrbusdriver

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 03:57 AM

Here in the drier western US, we rarely get "good" weather conditions for persistent contrails, so on such rare days I often pull up a flight tracking site and start ID'ing various craft/flights. It's quite easy, and some aircraft types are quite easy to ID visually...DC-10s and 747s in particular.

That said, I still see the term "chemtrail" as almost inflammatory and extremely "loaded" when used in any case, especially in a discussion of the effect of persistent spreading contrails and their effect on the climate. Basically, "chemtrails" are a myth with, thus far, no evidence whatsoever.

Spreading contrails have been slightly studied, with some pretty significant claims made of the findings as to climate effect, and I would have to question the impartiality of a study by the UN's IPCC.


#4    ChrLzs

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 05:18 AM

Here near Brisbane, Oz, at this time of the year gorgeous cirrus clouds are common...  But only a couple of flight paths go over us at height and they are not high volume - maybe a couple a day if lucky..

I might take the time to carry my camera (which is pretty capable) with me and see if I can catch a few examples.  I already have one set of images showing the way a single contrail aligned rather well with the cirrus clouds - where there were lots of natural cirrus the trail was thick and expanding, where there were gaps in the cirrus, it was quite short and quickly dispersed - which sorta backs up what I said above - if the conditions are right, then yes, contrails will add a bit.. but if they aren't, they won't.  The hard part is working out just how much is truly added to the cloud cover load..


Anyway, I may come back later to both threads and post some examples (movies and stills).  The nice thing about doing it here is that trails are quite rare, so it is easy to tell if you are looking at one, and you can see exactly how it adds (or doesn't) to the natural cloud...

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#5    bmk1245

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 09:47 AM

View PostChrLzs, on 29 May 2014 - 05:18 AM, said:

Here near Brisbane, Oz, at this time of the year gorgeous cirrus clouds are common...  But only a couple of flight paths go over us at height and they are not high volume - maybe a couple a day if lucky..

I might take the time to carry my camera (which is pretty capable) with me and see if I can catch a few examples.  I already have one set of images showing the way a single contrail aligned rather well with the cirrus clouds - where there were lots of natural cirrus the trail was thick and expanding, where there were gaps in the cirrus, it was quite short and quickly dispersed - which sorta backs up what I said above - if the conditions are right, then yes, contrails will add a bit.. but if they aren't, they won't.  The hard part is working out just how much is truly added to the cloud cover load..


Anyway, I may come back later to both threads and post some examples (movies and stills).  The nice thing about doing it here is that trails are quite rare, so it is easy to tell if you are looking at one, and you can see exactly how it adds (or doesn't) to the natural cloud...
I was thinking about leaving camera for a day taking shots every few minutes and making time lapse video of spreading contrails, but don't have external power supply yet (I'm not sure if my cam battery will last that long)...
We have quite traffic overhead West Europe - Russia/East Asia.

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#6    nosuchthing

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 10:00 AM

When such a well-credentialed scientist as Patrick Minnis goes about indicating contrails are linked to global warming, I tend to listen. I also don't think it is mere coincidence that since roughly the 1970s when air traffic began increasing at a rapid rate it also happens to be the decade in which people tend to notice the global warming trend coming about.

As for "chemtrails," technically speaking, contrails do contain chemicals. In that sense, regardless of how others feel about the term, contrails are "chemtrails." And in saying that, I did clearly mention within the opening post that when most people use the term "chemtrail" the context I just provided for it is not the one they have in mind.

Edited by nosuchthing, 29 May 2014 - 10:01 AM.


#7    Br Cornelius

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 10:46 AM

View Postmrbusdriver, on 29 May 2014 - 03:57 AM, said:

Here in the drier western US, we rarely get "good" weather conditions for persistent contrails, so on such rare days I often pull up a flight tracking site and start ID'ing various craft/flights. It's quite easy, and some aircraft types are quite easy to ID visually...DC-10s and 747s in particular.

That said, I still see the term "chemtrail" as almost inflammatory and extremely "loaded" when used in any case, especially in a discussion of the effect of persistent spreading contrails and their effect on the climate. Basically, "chemtrails" are a myth with, thus far, no evidence whatsoever.

Spreading contrails have been slightly studied, with some pretty significant claims made of the findings as to climate effect, and I would have to question the impartiality of a study by the UN's IPCC.
The claims of effects on weather are based largely on the observation that after the 9/11 attacks when all planes over America were grounded. The heavily used airspace over California showed an increase of  2 degrees centigrade dinurial difference to a typical day with heavy flight use. Thus claims that contrails can have significant effects on local climate are evidence based and well founded.

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#8    ChrLzs

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 12:55 PM

View PostBr Cornelius, on 29 May 2014 - 10:46 AM, said:

The claims of effects on weather are based largely on the observation that after the 9/11 attacks when all planes over America were grounded. The heavily used airspace over California showed an increase of  2 degrees centigrade dinurial difference to a typical day with heavy flight use. Thus claims that contrails can have significant effects on local climate are evidence based and well founded.

Br Cornelius
Evidence based and well-founded from an unplanned 2-3 day sampling and retrofiiting data?  And I note that you sneaked in the word "local" in front of climate so as to justify the use of the high figure over California...   As the study points out, this set of data is not easily comparable to any similar event in order to verify it, so where is the repeatability and verifiability, the controls, the null hypothesis?  May I refer you to Nature (which is a fairly well-regarded publication..) and this followup to that original study (linked below), which says (with my emphasis):

Quote

The unusual size of the shift, says David Travis of the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, who led both of the earlier studies, implied that an absence of contrails gave the temperature range a significant boost. But that idea, he says, was "more like a hypothesis" than a firm conclusion.  Research led by Gang Hong, an atmospheric scientist at Texas A&M University in College Station, now suggests that this hypothesis is wrong. Examining patterns of cloud cover and temperature in early September at US weather stations from 1971 to 2001, Hong and his colleagues found that thicker, low clouds are the dominant influence on temperature extremes, whereas high clouds such as contrails have a minor effect at most. They add that the 2001 temperature swings seem to be within the range of natural variability over those decades.

Remember, Travis is the guy who led the original study and he himself says this is a hypothesis, not a firm conclusion!

For those who would regard the initial study as comprehensive and definitive, can you show me the part in it where they took into account the ACTUAL weather conditions over the USA in those 3 days and considered the rather unusual cloud conditions that happened to exist?  The report even makes specific mention of the unusually low *natural* cloud density over the continent during that period - so making some point about it being 30 years since a similar set of temperatures over those days is hardly a killer argument - if you checked every 3 day period in a year how many other 3-day stretches might require a similar long walk back to find a match, especially if they were as unusual as they say...  And if you read the original report by Travis, Carleton and Lauritson (which is the Minnis-promoted study referred to in the OP) you will see it is full of words like 'suggest that", "could be" along with indications that more research needs to be undertaken.  That's what these studies do...  The study can be found here - note that the actual *overall* temperature variation from seasonal average was a huge (excuse my sarcasm) 1.2°C, NOT the conveniently and deliberately cherry-picked 2°C over California (which was singled out as the location with the greatest temperature anomaly)...:

http://facstaff.uww....epapermar04.pdf

I'm not denying that contrails have some impact, but the question is HOW MUCH?  Is it a priority in regard to the fight against climate change?  And what should be done about it that isn't already?  Engine designs are constantly being improved along with ways to both reduce the water output and/or change the way in which it is dispersed.  What would you guys suggest we do - ban high flights, and put up prices accordingly?

And finally, I would invite readers to *carefully* read the first link provided by nosuchthing...  As you do so, ask yourself why Minnis is planning new studies, and why nosuchthing thinks he is a well-credentialled scientist .... but James Hansen (also from NASA) who came to very different conclusions altogether in his studies, is not worth listening to..

The last words should probably go to David Travis, in that same article:

Quote

...Do they cool more than they warm, or vice versa?
"Well, the assumption is a net warming," Travis says, "but there is a lot of argument still going on about how much of a warming effect they produce."


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#9    OverSword

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 10:09 PM

View PostBr Cornelius, on 29 May 2014 - 10:46 AM, said:

The claims of effects on weather are based largely on the observation that after the 9/11 attacks when all planes over America were grounded. The heavily used airspace over California showed an increase of  2 degrees centigrade dinurial difference to a typical day with heavy flight use. Thus claims that contrails can have significant effects on local climate are evidence based and well founded.

Br Cornelius
So a difference of temperature of 2 degrees is evidence that contrails have an effect on.....Oh come on.


#10    AZDZ

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 12:54 AM

I have something which may be of relevance here.

I have noted occasionally, on days when the weather forecast was for clear skies, sometimes, when the upper atmospheric conditions were conducive to contrails growing and spreading completely across the skies, noticeable side effects was a slight temperature rise from that which was forecast and a rise in the days humidity level forecast could also be noted.

Naturally I am then very interested in hearing what the forecasters later have to say about getting the forecast wrong, and it is always a case of it being some unexpected shift in the atmosphere, or the weather person will just flat out admit they don't know what happened claiming, the 'weather gods had different plans', or something to that effect, everyone in the studio laughs then they move on.

My point is, on days when contrails grow and spread a notable difference in temperature and humidity can occur. With a little effort you can confirm these statements yourself.



While I am here I want add something concerning my observations for today. The forecast was for clear skies and low (comfortable humidity levels) with a temperature in the mid 80s, and it was spot on accurate. The funny thing is, and I cannot remember this ever happening before, I haven't seen a single contrail, not even the short, quickly dissipating kind, all day.

Usually their contrails help point them out but I haven't seen a single plane at cruising altitude all day. It's as if none are flying the regular routes for as far and wide as I can see, or, I never realized before how important contrails are for visually locating aircraft.


#11    mrbusdriver

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 06:06 PM

ADZD...you need to get hold of one of the flight tracking sites...flighttracker or flightaware (there are likely others as well).
These will allow you to correlate aircraft/trails with specific flights/aircraft types. It's kinda fun. Just center the display on your location, and start watching.
Out west here, good 'trailing" days are few and far between right now...and we have full overcast today.


#12    mrbusdriver

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 06:15 PM

I saw that the UK was considering lowering cruise altitudes of aircraft crossing their airspace to reduce contrail creation. The airlines won't be happy with the increased fuel consumption, but the fuel companies will enjoy it. Wonder what the increased exhaust emissions from the less efficient cruise level will do?
There was some mention of a "condenser" aft of the engine to make the water exhaust of the engine fall out of the atmosphere before creating a contrail...have they run this by the engine manufacturers? Sounds pretty "weighty" (spelled "increased fuel consumption") and convoluted to me. (spelled "kneejerk"). Will certainly raise ticket prices.


#13    Doug1o29

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 06:18 PM

View PostChrLzs, on 28 May 2014 - 04:13 AM, said:

This needs to be kept in context - the new study *estimates* (note what that word means!) that the contribution to human-induced climate change may be between 2% and 14%.

First up, like I said, that is an estimate.  Second - just look at that range - 2-14%???  That's a factor of 7x in terms of uncertainty.
1.  In research articles, "estimate" has a very specific meaning relating to the accuracy and variability of the number given.  It is not a guess.  It is calculated directly from the data.  Nothing subjective about it.  It is what it is.

2.  You are putting a lot of faith in one article.  Before leaping off tall buildings, we should do some more studies.
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#14    mrbusdriver

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 06:33 PM

Incidentally, the Weather Underground article talks about a study which focuses on a NATO E-3, orbiting in a circle for hours (atypical for normal airline flights), below typical airliner cruising altitude, powered by 1960s era low bypass engines. All of these unusual circumstances would label any findings pretty dubious at best.


#15    ChrLzs

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 01:01 AM

View PostDoug1o29, on 30 May 2014 - 06:18 PM, said:

1.  In research articles, "estimate" has a very specific meaning relating to the accuracy and variability of the number given.  It is not a guess.  It is calculated directly from the data.  Nothing subjective about it.  It is what it is.

2.  You are putting a lot of faith in one article.  Before leaping off tall buildings, we should do some more studies.
Doug
???

Doug, did you actually read what I posted?  As for 'estimate' having a special meaning in studies (cite please) - afaik it simply has the dictionary meaning - which is VERY clear.  I made the point about this particular study having a 7x factor of variability in that estimate (or whatever you want to call it), so - as I thought was eminently clear - of course I'm NOT putting my faith in one article at all, and I AM suggesting MUCH more research is needed - I even posted examples.  I'm at a complete loss how you could read what I posted and get the impression you did - are you confusing me with the OP?

And as Mrbusdriver said, the only viable short-term solutions would appear to be lowering flight paths (increases fuel consumption significantly) or some sort of devices to create larger ice crystals that will fall instead of seeding some added cloud cover - again, that will almost certainly mean more fuel...  More fuel consumption means more pollutants and more CO2 which we know is increasing climate change, not to mention higher airfares.

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