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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Aviation fuel tracer simulation: Model intercomparison and implications


An upper limit for aircraft-produced perturbations to aerosols and gaseous exhaust products in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UT/LS) is derived using the 1992 aviation fuel tracer simulation performed by eleven global atmospheric models. Key findings are that subsonic aircraft emissions: 1) have not be responsible for the observed water vapor trends at 40°N; 2) could be a significant source of soot mass near 12 km, but not at 20 km, 3) might cause a noticeable increase in the background sulfate aerosol surface area and number densities (but not mass density) near the northern mid-latitude tropopause, and 4) could provide a global, annual mean top of the atmosphere radiative forcing up to +0.006 W/m² and −0.013 W/m² due to emitted soot and sulfur, respectively.

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