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Climate-compatible air transport system
Minimizing the climate impacts of aviation is among the most difficult challenges facing aviation industry and air traffic management, requiring a reliable assessment of aviation-induced climate change. Many of the basic physical and chemical processes have been well known for long. However, considerable uncertainties exist in the quantification of the individual impacts. Hence, climate impact minimisation strategies have to be assessed under consideration of these uncertainties.
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.
Climate-optimized aircraft trajectories
An option to reduce aviation impact on climate, are operational measures which optimize individual aircraft movements by minimizing their climate impact. Thus improved flight guidance and routing avoid in particular climate-sensitive regions of the atmosphere, e.g. contrail forming areas or areas with strong ozone production.
Weather and flying
Weather contributes both directly and indirectly to delays, incidents, and accidents in air traffic. The increasing demand for air transport makes air traffic more vulnerable to adverse weather conditions. But “weather” is not a technical problem that can be simply solved. Predicting weather is by nature difficult and only possible within limits. It is therefore necessary to observe and forecast the changing state of the atmosphere as precisely and as timely as possible.
Integrated meteorological advisory system
Weather phenomena like turbulence, wind shear, lightning, heavy precipitation and in-flight icing are major contributors to disruptions of the air transport system. Events like the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010 also point out the vulnerability of the system. An advisory system is under development that provides timely and standardized information on different hazards, tailored to the needs of aviation: 5D-MetAdvisory.
Aircraft wake vortices
As an unavoidable consequence of lift a pair of counter-rotating vortices forms behind the wings. This long-lived vortex pair constitutes a potential risk to following aircraft. The proper prediction of wake vortex drift, descent, and decay and the resulting minimum separations between consecutive aircraft is vital for an effective, resource-efficient, and safe planning and guidance of air traffic.
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