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—— Forwarded Message From: “Jim Whitehead” Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 15:13:00 -0700 To: “FoRK” Subject: Contrails and Weather,1282,52512,00.html

Scientists have long suspected that airplane condensation trails — the wispy, white tails found in the wake of high-flying jets — form larger cloud banks that substantially alter the atmosphere’s heat balance.

But, for three days starting last Sept. 11, meteorological researchers were presented with just such an opportunity when the FAA grounded commercial flights nationwide for three days following the terrorist air attacks.

A team of climatologists presented their work Tuesday, showing that temperatures in the United States fluctuated by 1.2 degrees Celsius more when airplanes were grounded than when normal flight patterns prevailed. That is, planes in the sky dampen the variability between day and nighttime temperatures. More air travel, the researchers suggest, brings less meteorological difference between noon and midnight.

– Jim

—— End of Forwarded Message