With only little changes to aircraft routings, a reduction of the climate impact of 10% for transatlantic flights can be achieved at only small cost increases of around 1%. This result was achieved within the European REACT4C project, which was led by the DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics, comprising an international team from Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway and the UK. In total, 800 daily flights across the Atlantic under five typical winter weather patterns and three typical summer patterns were modelled by combining the EMAC chemistry-climate model with an air-traffic simulator from EUROCONTROL.
A large number of routing options were analysed and then the most "eco-efficient", i.e. the route with the best ratio of climate-impact reduction to cost increase, was chosen. These eco-efficient routes avoid contrail formation and avoid large impacts of NOx emissions on ozone and climate. An attractive approach since it uses the current aircraft technologies and no changes in aircraft or engine design, which would be cost intensive, would be necessary.
Contact: Volker Grewe
Link to more information http://environmentalresearchweb.org/cws/article/news/67954