Modelling the impacts of aircraft traffic on the chemical composition of the upper troposphere

C. Giannakopoulos, P. Good, K. S. Law, D. E. Shallcross, K. Y. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A three-dimensional chemistry-transport model has been used to assess the impacts of aircraft traffic in the upper troposphere. Aircraft engines emit NOx, which has the potential to perturb the chemical composition at the flight altitude paths, i.e. at a 10-12 km height for subsonic flights. The model used includes a comprehensive chemistry scheme, so perturbations to other species apart from NOx could also be examined. More specifically, the model showed that the monthly mean increase for NOx due to aircraft is around 60 pptv (parts per trillion volume (30 per cent increase) and for HNO3 it is 100 pptv (30 per cent increase). Consequently, O3 is enhanced by 2500 pptv (5 per cent increase) due to aircraft traffic. To assess the regional and temporal variations in the perturbations, a time series analysis above a central European grid cell located at 47° N 18° E has also been performed. The analysis has indicated that the local perturbations can be much larger than the monthly mean values and can reach 200 pptv for NOx, 150 pptv for HNO3 and 5000 pptv for O 3.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-243
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part G: Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2003


  • Aircraft emissions
  • Chemical perturbations
  • Global models


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