The "Contrail Cirrus Prediction Tool" CoCiP has been developed to simulate contrail cirrus resulting from a single flight as well as from a fleet of cruising aircraft, flight by flight, regionally or globally. The method predicts contrail cirrus for given air traffic and weather prediction data.
The method describes the life cycle of each contrail individually using a Lagrangian Gaussian plume model with simple bulk contrail ice properties, without feedback to meteorology. Contrails are initiated when the Schmidt-Appleman criterion is satisfied and when the ambient atmosphere is humid enough to allow for contrail persistence. The initial plume properties reflect properties of the originating aircraft. The evolution of individual contrails of cruising aircraft is computed using wind, temperature, humidity, and ice water content from numerical weather prediction (NWP) output. The plume trajectory follows horizontal and vertical wind. The model simulates shear and turbulence driven plume spreading, ice water content as a function of ambient ice supersaturation assuming ice saturation inside the contrail, and some ice particle loss processes (turbulent mixing, aggregation and sedimentation). Radiative cloud forcing is estimated from the contrail properties using the radiative fluxes without contrails from NWP output.
The tool allows for efficient contrail simulations even globally. The method has been tested for some case studies with comparisons to observations. The most critical input parameter is the NWP humidity field. The results compare favourably with observations and support interpretations of insitu, satellite and lidar observed aviation impact on cirrus clouds. CoCiP can be used to predict and minimize the climate impact of contrails.