This is the conclusion reached by an international team of researchers in the journal "atmospheric environment". The industry emitted 32.6 billion tons of CO2 between 1940 and 2018, according to a release from the german aerospace center (DLR), which was involved in the study along with researchers from the institute of atmospheric physics.
Half of these were produced in the past 20 years – which the researchers attributed to the increase in the number of flights and the expansion of flight routes and aircraft fleets.
Researchers estimate that 32.6 billion tons is equivalent to about 1.5 percent of total human CO2 emissions. But air traffic does not only influence the climate through these emissions. That’s why the researchers have also taken other factors into consideration.
In addition to the emission of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides, this also includes the effect of condensation trails and so-called condensation trail cirrus clouds. These are clouds of ice crystals, which are produced by airplanes in coarse height at certain meteorological conditions. In addition, effects of water vapor, rub and aerosol particles were included in the calculations.
The study also involved the u.S. Climate agency NOAA, the norwegian climate research center cicero and universities in several countries.