SEPTEMBER 2006: In response to issues relating to uncertainties in current understanding of the magnitude of aviation-related climate impact, the Next Generation Air Transportation System/Joint Planning and Development Office Environmental Integrated Product Team and PARTNER convened a panel of experts from around the world to participate in the “Workshop on the Impacts of Aviation on Climate Change,” June 7-9, 2006 in Boston, Massachusetts. JPDO and PARTNER have now released both a full report and executive summary of the Workshop findings and recommendations.
Key findings are detailed in the areas of emissions in the UT/LS and resulting chemistry effects, contrails and cirrus, climate impacts and climate metrics, and studies for tradeoffs among aviation emissions impacting climate.
The report and summary may be downloaded from the PARTNER Web site Reports area.
According to Dr. Mohan Gupta of the FAA, convener of the workshop, the workshop recommended coordination of ongoing atmospheric and climate research activities funded by federal research agencies, to address the key research needs identified in the report. "This coordination might entail expansion of existing research programs or even entail a new focused research program. This report will serve as a cornerstone document to garner federal research support for such an initiative," Gupta said
The Workshop goals were to assess and document the current state of knowledge of climatic impacts of aviation; to identify the key underlying uncertainties and gaps in scientific knowledge; to identify ongoing and further research needed and to make prioritized recommendations as to how additional funding may be leveraged to take advantage of other on-going funded research programs; to explore the development of metrics for aviation climate-related trade-off issues; and to help focus the scientific community on the aviation-climate change research needs.
As documented in PARTNER’s report Aviation and the Environment – Report to the United States Congress, 2004, (also available for download) effects of aircraft emissions on the earth’s climate of our planet may be the most serious long-term environmental issue facing the aviation industry.
There are large uncertainties in our current understanding of the magnitude of aviation-related climate impact. With extensive growth in demand expected in aviation over the next few decades, it is imperative that timely action is taken to understand and quantify the potential impacts of aviation emissions to help policymakers address climate and other potential environmental impacts associated with aviation.
To ensure that policymakers fully understand tradeoffs from actions resulting from implementing engine and fuel technological advances, airspace operational management practices, and policy actions imposed by national and international bodies, they must be provided with metrics that correctly capture aviation emission climate impacts. The Workshop was one of a number of activities PARTNER and the FAA have launched to address this issue.