A technique is proposed for controlled enhancement of droplet concentrations in low-level maritime clouds, with corresponding increase in their albedo and longevity, thereby producing a cooling effect. It involves dissemination at the ocean surface of small seawater droplets which act as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). It has low ecological impact.
(The full-text 88k .pdf version of this publication is available at the above-posted link.)
Airplane engines belch pollutants by the ton, while baggage carts, food service trucks and other support vehicles add to ozone and toxic air.
But until recently, airports such as Louisville International have gotten little scrutiny from government agencies working to improve air quality.
"These emissions are rising, and they have been one of the few remaining uncontrolled sources out there," said William Becker, executive director of the State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators and the Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officers.
That may be about to change.
As many airports plan expansions, local, state and federal agencies are seeking ways to make sure cities comply with increasingly stringent air pollution regulations.
In Louisville, a city proposal to curb toxic air that once focused mostly on about 170 industries now includes the airport.
A separate city task force plotting ways to bring the region into compliance with tougher new federal ozone and fine-particle-pollution standards is expected to include a review of the airport's role in those problems, even as airport managers move to take their first inventory of air emissions.
At the same time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration are, for the first time, taking a serious look at emissions from airport ground vehicles, while some states are pushing the Bush administration to do even more.
"State and local air pollution agencies … are pursuing as aggressively as possible the adoption of emission controls on all sorts of airport emissions, especially ground-service equipment," Becker said.
Ground vehicles are the focus because state and federal officials have little control over jet engine emissions, which are regulated by an international body under the United Nations. But even new, quieter and more efficient jet engines spew 40 percent more nitrogen oxides on takeoffs and landings than older engines, adding to lung-irritating ozone pollution..... (continued)
Reminder: NOx (nitrogen oxide) emissions increase ozone concentration in the troposphere and deplete it in the stratosphere.
R. Palikonda (1) P. Minnis (2) L. Nguyen (1) D. P. Garber (1) W. L. Smith, Jr. (1) D. F. Young (2)
1 Analytical Services and Materials, Inc. Hampton, Virginia, USA
2 Atmospheric Sciences Division NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, Virginia, USA
Analyses of satellite imagery are used to show that contrails can develop into fully extended cirrus cloud systems. Contrails can advect (expand horizontally) great distances, but would appear to observers as natural cirrus clouds. The conversion of simple contrails into cirrus may help explain the apparent increase of cloudiness over populated areas since the beginning of commercial jet air travel. Statistics describing the typical growth, advection, and lifetime of contrail cirrus is needed to evaluate their effects on climate.
Contrails may have a significant impact on the regional energy budget by blocking outgoing longwave radiation and reflecting incoming solar radiation. Such effects may also alter weather and climate patterns.
The overall impact depends on many factors including the contrail areal coverage, lifetime, time of formation, microphysical properties, altitude, and background. A variety of studies have suggested that cloud cover has risen due to contrails caused by increasing air traffic leading to reduced surface sunshine  or to surface warming .
Although several papers have been devoted to assessing the frequency of contrail occurrence, knowledge of the areal extent of contrail clouds is minimal. An examination of contrails by Bakan et al.  showed a maximum coverage of only 2% over a relatively small part of Europe and the northeast Atlantic. That study and others generally assume that contrail clouds are only those that are the familiar, narrow linear streaks in the sky or in a satellite image. As contrails are usually observed only in the air traffic routes and the routes only cover a small portion of the globe, it is difficult to reconcile the small fraction of cloudiness attributable to contrails and the larger increases in thin cloudiness if only the fresh, linear contrails are considered.
Bakan et al.  noted that many of the contrails they observed in a given NOAA Sun-synchronous satellite Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) image could be seen in other images 6 to 48 hours later.
From the surface, it is possible to observe the transformation of contrails into cirrus clouds having little resemblance to their original linear shape. Given these observations, it is highly probable that some long-lived contrails cannot be recognized as such and will increase the amount of cloudiness caused by jet aircraft exhaust..... (continued)
NARRATOR: It was David Travis who first caught a glimpse of what the world could be like without Global Dimming. It happened in those chaotic days following the tragedy of 9/11. For fifteen years, Travis had been studying the vapour trails, or contrails, left behind by high-flying aircraft. Though each individual contrail seems small, when they all spread out, they can blanket the sky.
DR DAVID TRAVIS: Here are some examples of what we call outbreaks of contrails. These are large clusters of contrails. And here's a particularly er good one from Southern California. Here's the west coast of the United States. And you can see here this lacing network of contrails er covering at least fifty per cent, if not seventy five per cent or more of the sky in that area. It doesn't take an expert to er realise that if, if you look at the satellite picture and see this kind of contrail coverage that they've got to be having an effect on temperature at the surface.
NARRATOR: But the problem Travis faced was to establish exactly how big an effect the contrails were actually having. The only way to do that was to find a period of time when, although conditions were right for contrails to form, there were no flights. And, of course, that never happened. Until September 2001. Then, for three days after the 11th virtually all commercial aircraft in the US were grounded. It was an opportunity Travis could not afford to miss. He set about gathering temperature records from all over the USA.
DR DAVID TRAVIS: Initially data from over 5,000 weather stations across the 48 United States, the areas that was most dominantly affected by the grounding.
NARRATOR: Travis was not looking just at temperature - that varies a lot from day to day anyway. Instead he focused on something that normally only changes quite slowly: the temperature range. The difference between the highest temperature during the day and the lowest at night. Had this changed at all during the three days of the grounding?
DR DAVID TRAVIS: As we began to look at the climate data and the evidence began to grow I got more and more excited. The actual results were much larger than I expected. So here we see for the 3 days preceding September 11th a slightly negative value of temperature range with lots of contrails as normal. Then we have this sudden spike right here of the 3 day period. This reflects lack of clouds, lack of contrails, warmer days cooler nights, exactly what we expected but even larger than what we expected. So what this indicates is that during this 3 day period we had a sudden drop in Global Dimming contributed from airplanes.
NARRATOR: During the grounding the temperature range jumped by over a degree Celsius. Travis had never seen anything like it before.
DR DAVID TRAVIS: This was the largest temperature swing of this magnitude in the last thirty years.
NARRATOR: If so much could happen in such a short time, removing just one form of pollution, then it suggests that the overall effect of Global Dimming on world temperatures could be huge.
DR DAVID TRAVIS: The nine eleven study showed that if you remove a contributor to Global Dimming, jet contrails, just for a three day period, we see an immediate response of the surface of temperature. Do the same thing globally we might see a large scale increase in global warming.
NARRATOR: This is the real sting in the tail. Solve the problem of Global Dimming and the world could get considerably hotter. And this is not just theory, it may already be happening. In Western Europe the steps we have taken to cut air pollution have started to bear fruit in a noticeable improvement in air quality and even a slight reduction in Global Dimming over the last few years. Yet at the same time, after decades in which they held steady, European temperatures have started rapidly to rise culminating in the savage summer of 2003..... END excerpt.
Solar flares and frigid temperatures are believed to be working with human chemicals to eat away at the protective ozone layer above the North Pole, surprising scientists who have been looking for evidence that the planet's ozone layer is healing.
The ozone layer protects Earth from dangerous ultraviolet radiation, which can cause skin cancer.
Last winter, Arctic ozone declined more precipitously than ever in the upper atmosphere, probably because of violent storms on the sun's surface, one team reports today in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
And in recent days, a lower layer of ozone has undergone an extraordinary thinning because of a level of bitter cold (about minus-110 degrees Fahrenheit) rarely seen in the Arctic and manmade chemicals, researchers said. One Colorado scientist has raced north to document the event, expected to sputter out within days.
The two unusual findings have experts worried that they don't fully understand the dynamics of ozone depletion.
"I don't think we can be confident about whether or not we're seeing an ozone recovery or if we're attributing recovery to the correct causes," said Cora Randall, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Colorado.
Randall and her colleagues studied a dramatic and unexpected drop in upper-level ozone levels last winter. A few months before the decline, massive solar storms had blasted high-energy particles toward Earth. Randall suspects the energetic particles helped create chemicals called nitrogen oxides, which are known ozone-gobblers.
Solar storms are natural, she said, but some scientists suspect humans also played a role in creating conditions that contributed to the historic ozone- depletion event.
Human-emitted chemicals are largely responsible for the massive ozone hole that has formed at lower levels in the Arctic atmosphere in recent days, experts said. There, unusually low temperatures are triggering reactions in which manmade chemicals quickly devour ozone, they said.
"Something like this only happens once every 20 years," said Russ Schnell, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder.
His agency deployed Andrew Clarke to a lab in Greenland, located under the area of sky where the ozone layer is diminishing. There, Clarke is lofting testing equipment into the sky with giant balloons. It will be weeks or months before the results are understood, he said.
UNITED NATIONS, MARCH 4: The United Nations aviation agency has adopted more stringent standards for controlling air pollutants that give rise to smog in urban areas.
The unanimous decision is part of the UN’s efforts to reduce aircraft emissions that affect local air quality and increase global warming due to greenhouse gases.
The 36-member council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) adopted new oxides of nitrogen (nox) standards which are 12% more stringent than previous levels for applicability in 2008.
Nox is the generic term for a group of highly reactive gases, all of which contain nitrogen and oxygen in varying amounts. Most nox emissions from aircraft have been found to occur in approach, take-off and climb in a height range up to 3,000 feet.
Since 1981, the agency has issued progressively stricter standards and recommended practices for aircraft engine emissions.
In close co-operation with international organisations concerned and the air transport industry, ICAO aims to limit or reduce the number of people affected by significant aircraft noise, the impact of aviation emissions on local air quality and the impact of aviation greenhouse gas emissions on the global climate.
*** ICAO: International Civil Aviation Organization www.icao.int/
2 March -- The Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has adopted new oxides of nitrogen (NOx) standards which are 12 per cent more stringent than the previous levels agreed to in 1999. The decision, for applicability in 2008, was taken unanimously by the 36-member Council.
The .pdf document announcing this decision is available at the above-posted link. Click on 2 March.
MONTREAL—The Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization adopted new nitrogen oxide standards which are 12 percent more stringent than levels agreed to in 1999. The decision, which will take effect in 2008, was unanimous by the 36-member council.
Since 1981, ICAO, seeking ways to reduce emissions through operational and market-based measures, has issued progressively stricter Standards and Recommended Practices for aircraft engine emissions.
Last year, the 35th session of the ICAO Assembly asked the council to continue studying policy options to limit or reduce the environmental impact of emissions, develop concrete proposals, and advise the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, placing special emphasis on the use of technical solutions while considering market-based measures.
The assembly reviewed progress on both voluntary measures and emissions trading and requested that ICAO study emissions levies by its next regular session in 2007. The assembly further urged states to refrain from unilateral implementation of greenhouse gas emissions charges prior to the issue being considered at its next regular session.
The activation on Feb. 16 of the Kyoto Protocol reaffirmed ICAO's leadership role in environmental matters related to civil aviation. Specifically, the protocol calls on industrialized countries to work through ICAO to pursue the limitation of greenhouse gas emissions from international civil aviation.
In cooperation with international air transport organizations, ICAO aims to limit or reduce the number of people affected by significant aircraft noise, the impact of aviation emissions on local air quality, and the impact of aviation greenhouse gas emissions on the global climate.
Most of ICAO's work on environmental matters is conducted by its Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection, composed of experts from ICAO contracting states and major sectors of the aviation industry. __________________________________
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Aviation is first on the list. “It is feasible that the inclusion of aviation is very near,” Dimas said in an interview with Point Carbon.
“We consider it quite important that other sectors and gases are included (in the EU ETS),” Dimas said in the interview published in Carbon Market Monitor. “Regarding aviation, we intend to publish a communication this summer and we shall consider whether it will join emissions trading, be subject to fuel tax or other measures.”
“Regarding the maritime sector, we are conducting a study on emissions from ships. They generate quite a high percentage of emissions in Europe – up to three per cent. However, I don’t see this happening before 2008.”
Dimas said he saw “little chance” of any major overhaul of the allocation process for the next phase of the scheme, beginning in 2008. “I am sure everyone will do better next time,” he said, adding “but I would caution against high expectations of what can be changed.”
Dimas points to market forces
In a break from the suggestions sometimes made by his predecessor, Margot Wallstroem, Dimas says the EC is not concerned with the price of the allowance as it does not reflect the success of the scheme. Market players might be heartened to hear his non-interventionist stance:
“From an environmental point of view, it is the number of allowances allocated that is important, Dimas says. “Of course the market will judge the perceived degree of scarcity and determine where the price of an allowance is set.
“But it would be a mistake to say that a low price of allowances means a low success rate and vice versa. A low price could be due to high fuel prices, a very mild winter, or a lot of rainfall. These factors make for a lower price for allowances and also lower emissions of CO2.”
Europe Seeks Ideas on Cutting Aircraft Climate Impact
BRUSSELS, Belgium, March 14, 2005 (ENS) - The European Commission is seeking the views of EU citizens on possible actions to curb the thickening blanket of greenhouse gases emitted by aircraft. Starting today, an Internet consultation will run for eight weeks. The results will feed into a strategy planned for this summer focusing on how economic measures could be used to reduce the climate change impact of aviation.
Across the European Union, carbon dioxide emissions from aviation grew by nearly 70 percent from 1990 to 2002, although the EU's total greenhouse gas emissions fell by three percent during that period.
Even though there have been improvements to aircraft technology and operational efficiency, they have yet to neutralize the effect of increased traffic, and the Commission projects that growth in emissions is likely to continue in the decades to come.
Air traffic packs a climate punch. A return-flight for two persons from London to New York produces about as much carbon dioxide as an average passenger car in the EU does in a whole year, for example.
World passenger air traffic has increased by about 14 percent in 2004 and the world aircraft fleet is expected to double by 2020, the Commission said.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will increase if traffic growth continues to surpass the historical trend of one to two percent annual improvements in efficiency of aircraft technology and operations.
The Commission is providing technical documents online so citizens can be aware of the latest information about aviation's impact on climate change before they fill out the questionaire.
The largest impacts of aircraft on climate are through CO2, nitrogen oxides, and contrail formation, according to one technical document, "Aviation and the Global Atmosphere," a publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a worldwide team of thousands of scientists established by the World Meteorological Organization and the UN Environment Programme.
As one option for future aviation, the Commission is considering the addition of a fleet of high-speed civil transport (HSCT, supersonic) aircraft replacing part of the subsonic air traffic.
In this scenario, supersonic aircraft are assumed to begin operation in the year 2015, to grow to a maximum of 1,000 aircraft by the year 2040, and to use new technologies to maintain very low emissions.
For a supersonic fleet, water vapor disturbances in the lower stratosphere, which are the most uncertain, are the most important, according to the IPCC report.
Areas of scientific uncertainty are outlined and explored in the technical documents. The largest areas of scientific uncertainty in predicting climate effects due to aviation lie with persistent contrails, with tropospheric ozone increases and consequent changes in methane, with potential particle impacts on "natural" clouds, and with water vapor and ozone perturbations in the lower stratosphere, especially for supersonic transport.
"Although the task of detecting climate change from all human activities is already difficult, detecting the aircraft-specific contribution to global climate change is not possible now and presents a serious challenge for the next century," the report states.
Aircraft contribute a fraction of the whole pattern of human generated global warming - about four percent today and by the year 2050 reaching a projected low of three percent and a high of 15 percent, according to the Commission.
Greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation are reported now under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, but they are not part of the quantified commitments undertaken by the developed countries that ratified the Kyoto Protocol.
Still, the protocol states that the developed countries shall pursue limitation or reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases from aviation, working through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
ICAO has been studying various options including taxes, charges and emissions trading but has so far not agreed on implementation of any measures that are likely to solve the problem, the Commission said.
In the 6th Community Environment Action Programme, the EU decided to identify and undertake specific actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from aviation if no such action was agreed within ICAO by 2002.
The public consultation questionnaire covers issues such as awareness about climate change from airplanes, opinion about the price of air transport and measures affecting it and policy measures to address the issue.
Keeping in mind that this thread is meant to provide continuity of information and is not just a series of stand-alone posts, here are some recent updates on the matter of the ever-expanding aviation sector's impact on our environment:
REUTERS - WASHINGTON - US state and local air pollution control officials said on Tuesday they are pulling out of five-year-old talks to develop a voluntary program for reducing pollution from aircraft engines.
A pollution-fighting deal with the aviation sector -- which is expected to see a doubling of nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions by 2030 -- could not be reached, and the officials said they told the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) so on Monday.
Major airports already have NOX emissions that are greater than those by large stationary sources, like refineries and power plants.
Officials with the State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators (STAPPA) and the Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials (ALAPCO) joined talks in 1999 to cut pollution from aircraft engines.
"More than five years later, we are extremely disappointed that no progress was made concerning the primary objective of reducing aircraft emissions," the associations said in a joint letter to the EPA and FAA.
The two associations represent air pollution control agencies in 54 states and territories and over 165 major metropolitan areas across the United States.
The officials said a proposal made this summer was "inadequate in terms of scope and stringency" and constrained on the ability of state and local agencies to protect against aviation-related pollution.
Specifically, the groups said the proposed nitrogen oxide emission standard for aircraft engines was not strong enough and excluded other pollutants, such as soot.
The officials also opposed excluding airports not in metropolitan areas that failed to meet EPA's clear air standards and were concerned there were few protections against "dumping" old equipment at non-participating airports.
The officials said that despite not being able to reach an agreement, they are committed "to identifying and implementing strategies" for meaningful emission reductions from the aviation sector.
STAPPA and ALAPCO transmitted a letter to EPA Assistant Administrator Jeff Holmstead and Federal Aviation Administration Assistant Administrator Sharon Pinkerton, to formally notify them of the associations’ decision to withdraw from the EPA/FAA stakeholder process to develop a voluntary emission reduction program for the aviation sector. In the letter, the associations express their disappointment that the five-year-long process had not resulted in any progress concerning the primary objective – reducing aircraft emissions. Instead, the sole product of this effort was a proposed memorandum of understanding – presented this summer – focusing only on NOx emissions from airport ground service equipment (GSE). In withdrawing from the stakeholder process, STAPPA and ALAPCO also formally rejected the proposed GSE agreement, which they found was not only inadequate in scope and stringency, but also placed unacceptable constraints on state and local air agencies’ abilities to protect the public from the adverse health impacts associated with aviation-related pollution. To view STAPPA and ALAPCO’s letter, click here.
State and local air pollution officials have withdrawn from 5-year-old negotiations aimed at voluntarily reducing emissions from the aviation industry, arguing the talks became too narrow and did not address many issues of importance for areas striving to meet national air quality standards.
In a letter sent on Nov. 22 to the U.S. EPA and Federal Aviation Administration, the State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators (STAPPA) and Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials (ALAPCO) declared their intention to withdraw from the negotiations. Of most importance, STAPPA and ALAPCO leaders said they were concerned that progress had not been made in recent years to specifically reduce emissions from aircraft.
The EPA-FAA panel began work in 1998 on a voluntary emissions plan for the airline and airport sector. The group stopped meeting after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks but resumed talks in the summer of 2002. STAPPA and ALAPCO have often been critical of the group's slow pace, a point some government officials also have acknowledged.
Nearly all details of the panel's work have been kept under wraps, with details only emerging now that STAPPA and ALAPCO have left the process. According to the state and local air agencies' letter, the EPA-FAA group focused its efforts over the last year on existing ground service equipment at airports. A memorandum of understanding proposed this summer spelled out several voluntary measures that could be adopted, including a plan to cut nitrogen oxide (NOx) and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from the ground fleet by about 50 percent from current levels.
Besides concern that the talks turned away from aircraft emissions, STAPPA and ALAPCO highlighted several other elements of the plan that they said raised concern. The groups said the NOx and VOC standards relied on faulty methodology. Also, the plan did not focus on other emissions besides ozone, such as fine particulate matter. Further, STAPPA and ALAPCO argued that the plan excluded airports not located in ozone nonattainment areas. Lastly, they said there were "inadequate protections" against dumping old equipment at airports that do not participate in the program.
"While we understand some progress was made, the final proposal offered this summer was inadequate in terms of scope and stringency and placed unacceptable constraints on state and local air agencies' abilities to protect the public from the adverse health impacts associated with aviation-related pollution," wrote STAPPA President Nancy Seidman and ALAPCO President Dennis McLerran.
EPA spokeswoman Cynthia Bergman said yesterday that the NOx and VOC cuts were among the most important items to emerge from the negotiations, explaining that they would have reduced pollution by 2010 at 54 airports in 27 states. Should STAPPA and ALAPCO follow through with their plans to withdraw from the process, those reductions will not be made, she said.
"It's disappointing," Bergman said.
Other government and aviation industry officials involved in negotiations also offered concern about the reductions envisioned by the voluntary program. Carl Burleson, director of FAA's environment and energy division, described the STAPPA and ALAPCO decision as a "setback" for the negotiations.
And Nancy Young, managing director of environmental programs for the Air Transport Association, said that while the aviation industry would evaluate its options, the opportunity to move forward "doesn't seem highly likely." Like EPA's Bergman, Young said the pollution reductions mark a major step forward for an industry that has been struggling to recover economically since the the Sept. 11 attacks.
"We hope they'd reconsider," Young said of STAPPA and ALAPCO's decision.
While aircraft engines contribute about 1 percent to total U.S. mobile source NOx emissions -- primarily during takeoffs and landings -- EPA has said that such emissions rise to more than 4 percent around some high-congestion airports. In Atlanta, home to one of the nation's busiest airports, Hartsfield-Jackson International, EPA said NOx emissions from commercial aircraft are expected to more than double by 2010, accounting for as much as 10 percent of the area's mobile source NOx emissions.
Big picture, EPA has said that 26 of the nation's 50 busiest airports are located in areas not currently meeting the old 1-hour ozone standard, with that number increasing to about 38 airports under the new, stricter 8-hour standard.
Commercial aircraft flown in the United States are regulated via international guidelines backed by the United Nations. In September 2003, EPA proposed smog emission standards for new commercial aircraft engines consistent with U.N. requirements. EPA officials predicted a nearly seamless transition to the new standards because about 94 percent of current aircraft engines -- those either certified or already in use -- meet or exceed its proposal (Greenwire, Sept. 23, 2003). But so far, EPA has yet to finalize the rule.
According to a March 2003 report by the Government Accountability Office, some of the newest airplane engines used on commercial aircraft are generating more NOx than the engines they are replacing, even when technological advances are considered. The GAO analysis said some of the newest engines being used on aircraft emit an average of 40 percent more NOx during landings and takeoffs than their older, noisier and less fuel-efficient counterpart (Greenwire, March 10, 2003)..... (continued)
The Reuters news agency reported on November 23 that State and local air-pollution agencies were pulling out of talks to develop a voluntary program for reducing pollution from aircraft engines, after five years of work that has produced no acceptable results.
Officials with the State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators (STAPPA) and the Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials (ALAPCO) joined talks in 1999 to reduce pollution from aircraft engines. In a joint letter, the presidents of the two associations told the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration on November 22, “More than five years later, we are extremely disappointed that no progress was made concerning the primary objective of reducing aircraft emissions.”
The two associations reported that they could not reach any agreement with the representatives of the aviation sector. The sole product of this effort was a proposed memorandum of understanding – presented this Summer – focusing only on NOx emissions from airport ground service equipment (GSE). In withdrawing from the stakeholder process, STAPPA and ALAPCO also formally rejected the proposed GSE agreement, which they found was not only “inadequate in scope and stringency,” but also “placed unacceptable constraints on State and local air agencies' abilities to protect the public from the adverse health impacts associated with aviation-related pollution.”
Primary focus of concern in the talks has been nitrous-oxide emissions (NOx), which are expected to double by the year 2030. NOx is a major factor in smog. Emissions from stationary sources (refineries and power plants) & from automobile & truck engines are stringently regulated, but there are no rules restricting pollution from jet engines. The Reuters report noted that major airports already have NOx emissions that are greater than those from large stationary sources.
Health-threatening soot uncontrolled
The joint letter from the State & local groups said the proposed nitrogen oxide emission standard for aircraft engines was not strong enough, & excluded other pollutants, such as soot (fine airborne particulate matter). The U.S.E.P.A. has been unsuccessful in introducing rules to control the most hazardous soot (at the 2.5 micron level), which is produced by jet engines & which is cause of increasing health concern in airport communities world-wide.
The associations hinted that they and their members might pursue legislative or judicial remedies, writing, “we are committed to identifying and implementing strategies to achieve meaningful reductions in emissions from the aviation sector.”
Local readers will recognize the name of ALAPCO's President, Dennis J. McLerran – a former City of Seattle official who is now the Executive Director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.
WASHINGTON - More than 1 billion people a year will be boarding planes in the United States within a decade, nearly double the number now using an aviation system showing signs of being overburdened.
The Federal Aviation Administration, which released the forecast Thursday, faces spending cuts for runways, air traffic control equipment and buildings. But the agency's administrator, Marion Blakey, said she was confident there would be enough money to accommodate the dramatic growth in air traffic.
"We are redesigning airspace, deploying new software that will help increase capacity, and putting new procedures in place," Blakey said. "We will be ready."
Lawmakers and aviation advocates were not so sure.
Building is not keeping up with the increase in passengers, said David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association. "That just spells congestion and delays for passengers."
Already, flights have been limited at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport because too many planes were trying to take off and land, causing delays throughout the country. The FAA negotiated an agreement with airlines to cut 37 daily flights and limit the number of domestic arrivals to 88 an hour between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Ruth Marlin, executive vice president of the air traffic controllers union, said many passengers will do a lot of waiting in 2015 if things do not change.
"The FAA is trying to do more and more with less and less and that is putting an incredible strain on the system," she said.
Sen. Christopher Bond, chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees transportation spending, has expressed disappointment in the Bush administration's budget proposal for 2006. It would cut money for airport construction and runways by $500 million next year, to $3 billion.
"I am at a loss to understand why this program remains in the sights of the budget gnomes," Bond, R-Mo., said at a hearing this week.
Sen. Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the subcommittee, pointed out the administration has proposed $77 million in cuts for air traffic control modernization, in addition to $400 million cut this year. In 2004, the FAA was authorized to spend $2.9 billion.
"All indications are that air traffic will continue to grow," said Murray, D-Wash. "Yet the Bush administration has decided that now is the time to impose dramatic cuts in our investment at improving safety and expanding capacity at our airports."
David Plavin, president of the Airports Council International-North America, said the problem is not just the increase in passenger traffic, but that planes are getting smaller. Small planes place just as much a burden on the air traffic system as large planes.
"FAA is chronically underfunded," said Plavin, whose group represents airports. "Some air traffic control towers are chronically understaffed."
But Blakey said the dollars for airport runways and buildings would still be twice what it was in the late 1990s, when airports received about $1.5 billion. In September, she said, the FAA assessed airport authorities capital needs and found they were 15 percent lower than the year before.
The FAA, which forecast a 45 percent passenger increase by 2015, also said:
• Traditional big airlines such as United and American will grow at a sluggish pace, with the number of passengers increasing by 2.8 percent annually over the next 12 years.
• Regional carriers, which fly planes with 70 or fewer seats, and international travel will fuel the increase in commercial aviation.
• The number of passengers on regional airlines will increase 15.4 percent next year.
• The number of passengers flying to and from the United States on domestic airlines will increase an average of 5 percent annually over the next 12 years.
And this is the extent of what the general public gets to see subsequent to "the first worldwide conference on aviation and the environment." Note the insidious references to concerned parties' "emotional" and "perception-based" orientation to an actual problem. Sound familiar? Note also the predictable use of the buzzword "uncertainty" - the 21st century excuse for doing exactly nothing. Disgusting:
GENEVA -- Europe and the United States politely but firmly disagreed Friday on the best way to deal with worldwide calls for airlines to cut emissions and noise, although both sides agreed that government action has the potential to harm aviation while doing little practical good.
The first worldwide conference on aviation and the environment covered a wide range of issues, including some that the industry considers more emotional than real.
The conference, which brought together major airline and airport groups with government officials, produced no solutions to growing popular and official pressure to do even more to cut emissions and noise. The only agreement seemed to be that something must be done.
"The pressure for improving environmental issues is not going to change," said Andrew Sentance, chief economist for British Airways. "We have to do more in managing the tradeoffs."
Many speakers said airlines were subject to irrational public perceptions, and that those perceptions sometimes guided government decisions. And there was general agreement that the industry was worried that perceptions rather than facts may guide public policy.
"I am concerned that the tide of public opinion is running against our industry," said Robert Aaronson, director general of the Airports Council International, one of several groups that sponsored the two-day meeting.
It was clear from conference sessions that public pressure is now greater in Europe than in the United States, although U.S. and European governments received rare words of defense from the chief executive of British Airways, Rod Eddington.
"Europe is the most energetic center of action, and the U.S. appears to be the home of the skeptics," Eddington said. "And yet when we probe beneath the surface, this is something of a caricature. When it comes to practical steps to tackle climate change, many European policy makers share business concerns that we will be put at a commercial disadvantage.
"Meanwhile, in the U.S., there is much more action on climate change at the state level, and businesses are starting to develop programs of voluntary action in anticipation of future policy decisions," he said.
Carl Burleson, director of the Office of Environment and Energy at the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, said he was encouraged by some of the talk he had heard at the conference about being careful in taking sweeping actions. But he said that differences remained between the two continents.
Burleson also said that new information indicates that the natural tendency of the Earth may be toward greater swings in climate change than many had thought.
"It is difficult to make rational decisions when there is such uncertainty," he said.
Sentance said comments by Burleson and others made it clear that the greatest danger of irrational decisions was in Europe rather than the United States.
"The airlines in Europe are caught in the middle," Sentance said. "Change won't come fast enough for European policy makers."
The conference also made clear that the United States has much greater control over air traffic and airport decisions than do the countries of Europe. Although there is now a Europewide air traffic management body, Eurocontrol, it does not yet have the power over national and local decisions that the U.S. agency has.
"The regulator is also the air traffic services provider" in the United States, Burleson said. "Our system works fairly well."
The Conservatives intend to put the brakes on Britain's boom in low-cost air travel by pushing for a Europe-wide tax on aviation fuel, which could lead to as much as £7 being added to the cost of airline tickets.
In an interview with the Guardian the shadow transport secretary, Tim Yeo, outlined environmental measures that will alarm airlines.
He questioned the justification for flying between London and Scotland, and said he would impose stringent financial obstacles to the construction of a new runway at Stansted airport.
Article continues Environmental organisations have long argued for a tax on aviation fuel in order to force airlines to pay for the damage they cause in harmful emissions and climate change.
Ministers from France and Germany last month suggested a Europe-wide tax of €300 per tonne of aviation fuel, which would add between €5 and €10 (roughly £3.50 to £7) to every fare, with the proceeds to be channelled towards aid for Africa.
Tony Blair opposed the measure, telling MPs that he would not "slap some huge tax on cheap air travel".
In his first detailed comments on aviation policy, Mr Yeo said: "If I was in office on May 6 I would want to straight away talk to my colleagues in Europe about how we could make progress towards a fuel tax. Aviation has to take account of its environmental impact to a greater extent than it has done in the past."
His remarks were attacked by EasyJet, which said a tax would disproportionately hit travellers on a tight budget.
Its spokesman Toby Nicol said passengers already paid £5 air passenger duty on every short-haul flight, which was roughly equivalent to a 100% tax on fuel.
"The idea that airlines don't pay an environmental tax already is ridiculous," he said. "Going out to the public six weeks before an election and saying, 'I want to make air travel more expensive,' is a surefire vote loser."
British Airways and other big carriers argue instead for an emissions trading scheme, under which airlines would trade "permits" for pollution.
They say this would be a better incentive towards less-polluting fuel; and they add that the objectives of a fuel tax could be foiled by airlines filling up with vast quantities of cheap fuel in the US and emitting more pollution as they carry it across the Atlantic.
Environmentalists privately suggested that the Conservatives wanted to reach out to voters in rural areas around airports, who were worried about the government's plans for runway development.
Mr Yeo's South Suffolk constituency is close to Stansted. He said he would make it difficult for BAA to expand the airport by preventing it from "cross-subsidising", using funds from Heathrow and Gatwick.
But Friends of the Earth's aviation campaigner Paul de Zylva said: "I think the public is increasingly recognising that it is absolutely absurd for airlines to get away with paying less than 20p a litre for jet fuel."
The group wants the duty to be set at the same rate imposed on petrol for motorists, which, if translated to ticket prices, would put £20 on a short-haul journey and up to £120 on a transatlantic flight.
Passenger numbers on flights between Britain and the rest of Europe went from 51m in 1993 to 97m in 2003.
Mr Yeo said he wanted airlines to print information about environmental emissions on every ticket. He said: "No one can say they are serious about being interested in addressing climate change without addressing aviation.
"If you are going to go from London to Glasgow the environmental impact is often less if you drive."
Published September 2000, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, All Rights Reserved
Brief excerpt presented here for educational purposes only. This is a 160-page .pdf document. The rest of the document may be located at the link provided at the end of this excerpt.
I hope people will actually read this excellent piece of work. You might want to look first at the two graphics on Page 33.
*** Historical and Future Trends in Aircraft Performance, Cost, and Emissions
Joosung Joseph Lee B.S., Mechanical Engineering University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1998
Submitted to the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Engineering Systems Division in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degrees of Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics and Master of Science in Technology and Policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology September 2000
2000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology All rights reserved
2.2 Aviation and the Environment Today
Aviation has now become a major mode of transportation and an integral part of the infrastructure of modern society. Currently, aircraft account for more than 10% of world’s passenger miles traveled (Schafer and Victor, 1997b). Aviation directly impacts the global economy in the form of commercial passenger travel, freighter transport, and business travelers, involving the suppliers and operators of aircraft, component manufacturers, fuel suppliers, airports, and air navigation service providers. In 1994, the aviation sector accounted for 24 million jobs globally and financially provided $1,140 billion in annual gross output (IATA, 1997).
Because of its growing influence on the global economy and the wide range of industries involved, the activities of the air transport industry have been directly circumscribed by public interest. Energy use and environmental impact, as represented by air pollution and noise, are two important drivers for today’s aviation sector. Currently, aviation fuel consumption corresponds to 2 to 3% of the total fossil fuels used worldwide, and more than 80% of this is used by civil aviation. In comparison, the entire transportation sector burns 20 to 25% of the total fossil fuels consumed. Thus the aviation sector alone uses 13% of the fossil fuels consumed in transportation, being the second largest transportation sector after road transportation (IPCC, 1996b).
In the future, total aviation fuel consumption is expected to continue to grow due to the rapid growth in air traffic volume. The subsequent increase in aircraft engine emissions has drawn particular attention among the aviation industry, the scientific community, and international governments in light global climate change. Through various forums among global participants, the effort to address these issues concerning growing aviation emissions has recently culminated in the IPCC Special Report on Aviation and the Atmosphere. In review of this document, the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) describes the current status of aviation and global climate as, "Aviation’s effects on the global atmosphere are potentially significant and expected to grow” (GAO, 2000).
Aircraft engines emit a wide range of greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, water vapor, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, and particulates. The environmental issues concerning these aircraft emissions originally arose from protecting local air quality in the vicinity of airports and have grown to global environmental issues, two of which may bear the direct consequences of aviation. One is climate change, which may alter weather patterns, and, for supersonic aircraft, stratospheric ozone depletion and resultant increase in ultraviolet-B (UV-B) at the earth's surface (IPCC, 1999).
The resultant radiative forcing from these aircraft emissions discharged directly at altitude is estimated to be 2 to 4 times higher than that due to aircraft carbon dioxide emissions alone, whereas the overall radiative forcing from the sum of all anthropogenic activities is estimated to be a factor of 1.5 times that of carbon dioxide emissions at the ground level. IPCC global modeling estimates show that aircraft were responsible for about 3.5% of the total accumulated anthropogenic radiative forcing of the atmosphere in 1992 as shown in Figure 2.1 (IPCC, 1999).
A number of direct and indirect species of aircraft emissions have been identified to affect climate. Carbon dioxide and water directly influence climate by radiative forcing while their indirect influences on climate include the production of [excess] ozone in the troposphere, alteration of the methane lifetime, formation of contrails, and modified cirrus cloudiness. As for the species that have indirect influences on climate, nitrogen oxides, particulates, and water vapor impact climate by modifying the chemical balance in the atmosphere (IPCC, 1999).
The atmospheric sources and sinks of CO2 occur principally at the earth’s surface through exchange between the biosphere and the oceans. CO2 molecules in the atmosphere absorb the infrared radiation from the earth’s surface and lower atmosphere. An increase in CO2 atmospheric concentration causes a warming of the troposphere and a cooling of the stratosphere. Thus, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 is one of the most important factors in climate change..... (continued below)