Seasonal Variability of Aircraft Trajectories reducing NOx-climate Impacts under a Multitude of Weather Patterns

F. Castino, F. Yin, V. Grewe, Manuel Soler, Abolfazl Simorgh, Hiroshi Yamashita, Sigrun Matthes, Sabine Baumann, Florian Linke, More Authors

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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Air traffic contributes to global warming through CO2 and non-CO2 effects, including the impact of NOx emissions on atmospheric ozone and methane, formation of contrails, and changes in the amount of stratospheric water vapour. The climate impact of non-CO2 effects is highly dependent on the background atmospheric conditions at the time and location of emission. Therefore, there is the potential of mitigating the climate impact of aviation by optimizing the aircraft trajectories. In the present paper, we focus on the properties of alternative trajectories which have the potential to minimize the climate impact of NOx emissions, under a multitude of weather patterns. This study aims at enhancing the understanding of the relation between NOx-climate impacts and routing strategies, by employing the European Center Hamburg general circulation model (ECHAM) and the Modular Earth Submodel System (MESSy) Atmospheric Chemistry (EMAC) model. To this end, we conduct 1-year simulations with the air traffic submodel AirTraf 2.0, coupled to the EMAC model. We optimize 85 European flights, considering the atmospheric conditions at the time and location of the flight, to calculate the expected climate impact from the emitted species through a set of prototype algorithmic Climate Change Functions (aCCFs). The mean flight altitudes of NOx-climate optimal trajectories showed seasonal and latitudinal dependencies. We found that the potential of reducing ozone effects from aviation NOx is subjected to a strong seasonal cycle, reaching a minimum in summer.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication11th SESAR Innovation Days
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event11th SESAR Innovation Days - virtual event
Duration: 7 Dec 20219 Dec 2021
Conference number: 11


Conference11th SESAR Innovation Days
Abbreviated titleSIDs 2021


  • Urban Airspace
  • Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM)
  • U-Space
  • BlueSky ATC Simulator
  • Conflict Detection and Resolution (CD&R)
  • Velocity Obstacle (VO)


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