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Aviation and environment

Air transport and the greenhouse effect

Atmospheric composition is the result of natural and anthropogenic emissions combined with transport and chemical processes. Aircraft emissions can have an impact on atmospheric chemistry and on its radiative balance. For example, contrails formed from emissions of water vapour and soot particules can lead to the formation of cirrus clouds.

Emissions of nitrogen oxides perturb the natural cycles and open the way to ozone production or destruction depending on local altitude and insolation. These ozone perturbations along with the CO2 emissions, water vapour, sulphur and soot particles allow additional clouds to form and may increase the greenhouse effect. The same local perturbations are observed when a spacecraft is launched.

In this field of research, CERFACS focuses on the time-evolution of the atmospheric chemical composition and on the anthropogenic impact, especially on the effect of the chemical and particulate emissions from aviation. The AE team has developed a scientific expertise on the modelling of the effluents and their transformation in the different phases that follow the lanch of a spacecraft, in particular the transition to the “hot” chemistry located at the nozzle outlet and the “cold” chemistry for the high atmosphere.

Evaluate the impact of antropogenic emissions

In that context, the monitoring of atmospheric composition is of particular importance. The objective is to detect and possibly attribute the observed changes to natural or anthropogenic forcing. The AT team is involved in national and European projects centered on the development and the implementation of data assimilation systems, gas for trace gases and particles central to atmospheric chemistry.

The AE team is composed of about ten researchers who work closely on the national level with CERFACS associated laboratories like CNRM, ONERA teams, CNRS and aeronautical industry. The team is also involved in numerous projects, especially European projects that include the main institutions present in the atmospheric environment field.

Main partners : CNRM, CEPMMT, DLR, Latmos, LISA, LSCE, Onera

CERFACS challenge : Modest

National and international current projects :

IMPACT : climate impact of the evolution of air traffic

MACC : Data assimilation of minor constituents for the atmophere monitoring

TC2 : contrails and climate


Project director : Daniel CARIOLLE

Senior researchers :

Emanuele EMILI

Roberto PAOLI


Post-docs :


Géraldine REA

Bojan SIC

Consultants :


Philippe MOINAT

PhD :

Hélène PEIRO

Visitors :










First 360-degrees Large-Eddy Simulation of a full engine

Jérôme DOMBARD |  17 June 2020

Within the PRACE project FULLEST (First fUlL engine computation with Large Eddy SimulaTion), a joint collaboration between CERFACS, SAFRAN and AKIRA technologies, Dr. C. Pérez Arroyo (post doctoral fellow at CERFACS) has carried out under the supervision of Dr. J. Dombard the first high-fidelity simulation of a part of the real engine DGEN380 (for now, from the fan to the combustion chamber). This 360-degrees integrated large-eddy simulation contains around two billion cells on the three instances, carried out with the AVBP code of CERFACS.  The CPU cost is obviously large but still within reach, performing around one turn of fan during 5 days over 14400 skylake cores. Post-treatments are in progress and already show, among other complex phenomena, a strong interaction between the high pressure compressor and the combustion chamber (see forthcoming paper GT2020-16288 C. Pérez Arroyo et al). Below a video showing: in the fan an isosurface at mid-height of the vein colored by the Mach number, in the high pressure compressor a gradient of density, in the bypass of the combustion chamber the static pressure and in the flame tube a temperature field. One of the goals of the project is to create a high-fidelity unsteady database to study interactions between modules and may help other teams to develop new lower order models and/or validate existing ones. Beyond the feasibility and the maturity of the AVBP code, this kind of calculation is an important milestone for the aeronautical industry and would allow to apprehend earlier in the design the effect of integration and installation and thus, to reduce the cycle and therefore the cost of the future aircraft engines. We acknowledge PRACE for awarding us access to Joliot-Curie (Genci) hosted at CEA/TGCC, FRANCE, Safran Tech and DGAC fundings within the project ATOM, along with the invaluable technical support at...Read more

B. Cuenot distinguished as Program Chair of international Symposium on Combustion

superadmin |  29 May 2020

B. Cuenot has been distinguished as Program Chair for the 39th International Symposium on Combustion, to be held in Vancouver (Canada) in 2022. The International Symposium on Combustion is a major event for the combustion community, where the current best research is presented.Read more