Bill Gates and Google try to stop Contrails

Google has decided to try to eliminate or at least reduce the Contrails trails, as revealed by the New York Timest, thanks to an agreement with the airline American Airlines and with Breakthrough Energy by Bill Gates

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Bill Gates and Google try to stop Contrails
© Pool / Team Getty Images Entertainment

Google has decided to try to eliminate or at least reduce the Contrails trails, as revealed by the New York Times. This will be possible thanks to an agreement with the airline American Airlines and with Breakthrough Energy, an association founded by Bill Gates, which raises funds to combat climate change.

The project will use artificial intelligence to collect satellite imagery, weather data and flight paths to develop contrail prediction maps so pilots can choose routes that avoid creating them.

Google's AI-based predictions to avoid contrail-creating altitudes on flights where pilots used these predictions reduced contrails by 54% compared to flights where pilots didn't use them.

These contrails develop when planes fly through layers of moisture, trapping large amounts of heat that would otherwise leave the Earth's atmosphere, amplifying global warming.

Bill Gates and Google try to stop Contrails

From Google they recalled that those thin white lines that are often seen when airplanes pass by are responsible for approximately 35% of the impact of aviation on global warming according to the 2022 IPCC report.

Test flights attempted to avoid contrails and burned just 2% more fuel, but recent studies have shown that adjusting a small percentage of flights could avoid the majority of contrail heating. The total impact on fuel could be 0.3% of an airline's flights, equivalent to $5-25 per ton of CO2 not released into the atmosphere.

Contrails are artificial clouds of condensed water vapor that can form as airplanes pass by.

The most common contrails are due to the rapid condensation into ice of the water vapor present in the aircraft's exhaust gases during navigation at high altitudes where the external temperature is very low.

The persistence and expansion of these contrails depends on the presence of sufficient humidity at the flight altitude.

In addition to water vapour, the emissions caused by aircraft contain carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons such as methane, sulphates and combustion particulates.

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