Climate assessment of single flights: Deduction of route specific equivalent CO2 emissions

K. Dahlmann*, V. Grewe, S. Matthes, H. Yamashita

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Climate impact of anthropogenic activities is more and more of public concern. But while CO2 emissions are accounted in emissions trading and mitigation plans, emissions of non-CO2 components contributing to climate change receive much less attention. One of the anthropogenic emission sectors, where non-CO2 effects play an important part, is aviation. Hence, for a quantitative estimate of total aviation climate impact, assessments need to comprise both CO2 and non-CO2 effects (e.g., water vapor, nitrogen dioxide, and contrails), instead of calculating and providing only CO2 impacts. However, while a calculation of CO2 effects relies directly on fuel consumption, for non-CO2 effects detailed information on aircraft trajectory, engine emissions, and ambient atmospheric conditions are required. As often such comprehensive information is not available for all aircraft movements, a simplified calculation method is required to calculate non-CO2 impacts. In our study, we introduce a simple calculation method which allows quantifying climate assessment relying on mission parameters, involving distance and geographic flight region. We present a systematic analysis of simulated climate impact from more than 1000 city pairs with an Airbus A330-200 aircraft depending on the flight distance and flight region to derive simplified but still realistic representation of the non-CO2 climate effects. These new formulas much better represent the climate impact of non-CO2 effects compared to a constant CO2 multiplier. The mean square error decrease from 1.18 for a constant factor down to 0.24 for distance dependent factors and can be reduced even further to 0.19 for a distance and latitude dependent factor.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Transportation
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Aviation
  • carbon footprint
  • climate impact
  • CO equivalents
  • non-CO effects
  • response model


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