Climate-compatible air transport system

Reduction of Air Traffic Climate Impact



An important goal is to create the scientific basis for a sustainable development of global aviation and to identify and assess the corresponding technological options. This requires the climatic impact of the entire air transport system to be quantified for given emission scenarios.

To reach this interdisciplinary goal, DLR develops and assesses such options for the air transport system. The focus will be on measures to reduce fuel consumption but also ozone production from NOx emissions and cloudiness triggered by condensation trails and soot particles. Alternative routings are investigates which reduce the climate impact of aviation based on weather prediction. Competing effects of CO2, condensation trails, ozone and methane are considered carefully. Reducing such short-lived effects potentially reduces the climate impact of aviation more effectively than reducing long-lived CO2 emissions.

Options to reduce the climate impacts are developed and assessed using scientific criteria. Climate impacts are determined including technical and operational aspects of air frame technology and air traffic management. Ultimately, the potential of several options thought to be suited to reduce the aviation climate impact will be assessed.

At the same time, existing uncertainties in assessing the climate effects of global air traffic will be successively reduced with dedicated research. A combination of model simulations covering many spatial scales, airborne measurements with the DLR research aircraft FALCON and HALO and remote sensing will be employed.

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