The air traffic with its various climate effects can be integrated in the international climate protection protocols. Significant reductions of climate relevant emissions are possible without larger influences on the air traffic demand. This results from a recent study of DLR with contributions by the Institute of Atmospheric Physics. For the first time, the total climate effect of air traffic was considered in such a study. The total effect is about twice as high as the effect of CO2 alone.
The global air traffic is a continuously growing business so that also emissions increase which contribute to climate change. Since decades a significant increase of CO2 emissions from aviation is observed. This has continued after 1990, the reference year of the Kyoto protocol. In addition to CO2, the exhausts of other climate relevant substances as nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, water vapour, and soot increased too. Depending on the flight altitude aircraft generate sometimes condensation trails and cirrus clouds which also influence the climate. In 2005 the global CO2 emissions of air traffic shared about 1.6 percent to the global warming. However, the total emissions of air traffic shared even 4.9 percent. It is essential, to consider the total climate effect of aircraft and to plan climate protection measures in a holistic way. Therefore, a model was developed which reflects the total effect of air traffic as well as the consequences of climate protection measures.
The project, which was coordinated by the DLR Institute of Air Transport and Airport Research, was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research within the programme 'economy of climate change' in the framework 'research for sustainable developments' (FONA).
Contact: Robert Sausen
DLR press release