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Atmospheric science

Seeing through contrails

Contrails formed by aircraft can evolve into cirrus clouds indistinguishable from those formed naturally. These 'spreading contrails' may be causing more climate warming today than all the carbon dioxide emitted by aircraft since the start of aviation.

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Figure 1: Satellite infrared images of contrails spreading into cirrus clouds over the UK.


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Correspondence to Olivier Boucher.

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Boucher, O. Seeing through contrails. Nature Clim Change 1, 24–25 (2011).

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