Shortlisted entries 2011

1. Aircraft Contrails
Enviroment, Dr Antonio Filippone

Contrails are vapour trails released by aero engines as they cruise in the high atmosphere. They are the cause of medium- to long term climate change, as they generate considerable cirrus clouds and contribute to the reduction of the night-day temperature difference (warmer nights, colder days). This is a problem in NW England, where a combination of temperatures, atmospheric humidity and commercial aviation conspire to create worrying levels of artificial clouds. The photo shows various levels of contamination and wake age. The sharpest clouds have just been released (a few seconds old); the oldest clouds are about 20 to 30 minutes old. An airplane is seen just through the tree on the right.

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