The pros and contrails of travelling by air

Irish Times – Strange marks on the sky have fascinated people since the Stone Age. They still worry some people of apprehensive disposition (at whose concerns I shall arrive). But vapour trails’ role in making clouds is now part of the study of global warming, and the crowded sky over Ireland is a target for satellite surveillance. Clouds trap the sun’s warmth reflected from the planet. They are made by the condensation of moist air into droplets of water or ice, each with an airborne particle or aerosol at its heart. Earth sends all kinds of natural particles and aerosol molecules into the atmosphere, to which aircraft add millions of their own. The jet exhaust from burned kerosene pours out warm and moist gases, with sulphates, carbon soot and metal molecules, all of which condense into a linear ice cloud in the colder ambient air. In favourable conditions – typically below minus 40 degrees – a contrail can persist for several hours, grow to several kilometres long and trigger additional cirrus cloud as it spreads. Ireland’s position under the north Atlantic flight corridor means that hundreds of aircraft to and from Europe fly over the island daily at more than 24,000ft, peaking eastwards in the early morning and westwards around noon. An Armagh Observatory study of Irish sunshine records over the century to 1998 found a 15 per cent increase in cloud cover and a corresponding 20 per cent drop in annual sunshine. How much of this, if any, could be blamed on the modern rise in air traffic? Read Article

Editorial Comment – Contrails or Chemtrails, that is the question. Either way they are polluting the atmosphere with numerous toxic particulates, however what is different about the exhaust from planes today than say 20 years ago when the trail quickly disapated, unlike today where it often lingers and expands for hours? Is it purely innocent and just due to different fuels being used? Or is it part of the geo-engineering processes already underway and beginning to get mainstream coverage? Or is it something more sinister than even that?