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Aircraft emission mitigation by changing route altitude: A multi-model estimate of aircraft NOx emission impact on O3 photochemistry

Lim, Ling and Matthes, Sigrun and Skowron, Agnieszka and Iachetti, Daniela and Owen, Bethan and Hodnebrog, Øivind and Di Genova, Glauco and Pitari, Gianni and Lee, David S. and Myhre, Gunnar and Isaksen, Ivar S.A. and Søvde, Ole Amund (2015) Aircraft emission mitigation by changing route altitude: A multi-model estimate of aircraft NOx emission impact on O3 photochemistry.

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Abstract

The atmospheric impact of aircraft NOx emissions are studied using updated aircraft inventories for the year 2006, in order to estimate the photochemistry-related mitigation potential of shifting cruise altitudes higher or lower by 2000 ft. Applying three chemistry-transport models (CTM) and two climatechemistry models (CCM) in CTM mode, all including detailed tropospheric and stratospheric chemistry, we estimate the short-lived radiative forcing (RF) from O3 to range between 16.4 and 23.5 mW m 2, with a mean value of 19.5 mW m 2. Including the long-lived RF caused by changes in CH4, the total NOxrelated RF is estimated to about 5 mW m 2, ranging 1e8 mW m 2. Cruising at 2000 ft higher altitude increases the total RF due to aircraft NOx emissions by 2 ± 1 mW m 2, while cruising at 2000 ft lower altitude reduces RF by 2 ± 1 mWm 2. This change is mainly controlled by short-lived O3 and show that chemical NOx impact of contrail avoiding measures is likely small.

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