Oberpfaffenhofen (dpa) – According to a new study, aviation has so far contributed around 3.5 percent to man-made global warming. This is the conclusion of an international team of researchers in the journal “Atmospheric Environment”. The industry emitted 32.6 billion tons of CO2 between 1940 and 2018, according to a message from the German Aerospace Center (DLR), which was involved in the study with researchers from the Institute for Atmospheric Physics.
Half of it was produced in the past 20 years – which the researchers attribute to the increased number of flights and the expansion of flight routes and aircraft fleets.
The researchers estimate that 32.6 billion tons correspond to around 1.5 percent of total human CO2 emissions. However, air traffic does not only influence the climate through these emissions . Therefore, the researchers also considered other factors. In addition to the emission of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides, this also includes the effects of contrails and so-called contrail cirrus. These are clouds of ice crystals that are generated by aircraft at high altitudes under certain meteorological conditions. In addition, the effects of water vapor, soot and aerosol particles were included in the calculations.
The US climate agency NOAA, the Norwegian climate research center Cicero and universities in several countries were also involved in the study.