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Boulder Contrails: Jet’s Jetsom, Vanishing Vapors

We see contrails every day in the Boulder skies. Colored like clouds, they are the straight lines in the sky that trail jet planes. And what are they? Why do they appear at all? Some of the Most Interesting Contrails I’ve Seen       pic Lensworth

Contrails, short for “condensation trails,” are cloud-like trails left behind by aircraft as they fly through the sky. These are a specific type of cirrus cloud formed when the water vapor from an airplane’s exhaust mixes with the cold air at high altitudes. The interaction between the hot exhaust gases and the cold air causes the water vapor to condense into tiny water droplets or ice crystals, forming a visible trail behind the aircraft. The appearance and duration of contrails can vary widely depending on atmospheric conditions.white airplane flying under the blue sky

In general, for contrails to form, the air at flight altitude must be cold enough (usually below -40°C) and have a sufficient amount of moisture. If the air is too dry, the contrails will evaporate quickly and not be visible for long. On the other hand, in very humid conditions, contrails can persist and spread, eventually forming cloud cover. This phenomenon has interested scientists and environmental researchers, as persistent contrails can influence climate by trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere, contributing to the greenhouse effect.airshow, harvard aircraft, heritage

The study of contrails is a part of the broader field of aviation’s impact on the environment. Researchers are investigating how changes in flight routes, altitudes, and engine technologies could reduce the formation of persistent contrails and thus lessen their potential environmental impact. This interest has spurred innovations in aircraft design and fuel formulations aimed at reducing contrail formation without compromising the efficiency and safety of air travel.

Contrails are not just a fascinating atmospheric phenomenon but also a subject of environmental significance. They highlight the intricate ways human activities intersect with natural systems, prompting ongoing research and technological advancements to mitigate their impact on the planet.

Lenny Lensworth Frieling

Shared Knowledge Is Power!



Leonard Frieling Pen Of Justice Legal Blogger
  • Senior Counsel Emeritus to the Boulder Law firm Dolan + Zimmerman LLP : (720)-610-0951
  • Former Judge
  • Photographer of the Year, AboutBoulder 2023
  • First Chair and Originator of the Colorado Bar Association’s Cannabis Law Committee, a National first.
  • Previous Chair, Boulder Criminal Defense Bar (8 years)
  • Twice chair Executive Counsel, Colorado Bar Association Criminal Law Section
  • NORML Distinguished Counsel Circle
  • Life Member, NORML Legal Committee
  • Life Member, Colorado Criminal Defense Bar
  • Board Member Emeritus, Colorado NORML
  • Chair, Colorado NORML, 7 years including during the successful effort to legalize recreational pot in Colorado
  • Media work, including episodes of Fox’s Power of Attorney, well in excess of many hundreds media interviews, appearances, articles, and podcasts, including co-hosting Time For Hemp for two years.
  • Board member, Author, and Editor for Criminal Law Articles for the Colorado Lawyer, primary publication of the Colorado Bar Assoc. 7 Years, in addition to having 2 Colorado Lawyer cover photos, and numerous articles for the Colorado Lawyer monthly publication.
  • LEAP Speaker, multi-published author, University lectures Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, Denver University Law School, Univ. of New Mexico, Las Vegas NM, and many other schools at all levels.
  • http://www.Lfrieling.com
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