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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 :










Young PhD day (JDD) – Thursday 8 October 2020

Brigitte Yzel |  24 September 2020

  Ph.D. Students' Day (JDD 2020) Thursday 8 October 2020 Virtual event open to our partners and associates   Planning   The 2020 edition of the PhD Students' Day will take place on October 8th, 2020. This year, this day of the PhD students of the Cerfacs, will take place mainly in visio in order to respect all the health safety measures relating to Covid-19. This day will be held in a virtual way through oral presentations filmed and broadcast on a private link, which we will distribute to all participants. Everyone will thus be able to discover at a distance the subjects developed by the doctoral students. At the same time, the "Posters session" will be opened on the morning of the JDD, by sending all the posters in pdf format by e-mail to all the participants for consultation, and by opening the "50-minute question session" on a channel whose links we will send you. This will allow participants to ask questions about the posters of the session. Finally, we have included in this 5th edition a great novelty, by allowing several students to present their subject in the popularised form of "My thesis in 3 minutes", guided by Matthieu Pouget, actor and theatre director. This day will end with the vote for the "Best poster" and the "Best presentation of My thesis in 3 minutes". Participation in the event is free of charge. However, for logistical reasons, registration, only by invitation, is mandatory.   Organising Committee:  Scientific committee  Nicolas Venkovic Victor Xing Inscription &  information Jade Schweiger Brigitte Yzel  Read more

Sparse Days 2020, Cerfacs

Brigitte Yzel |  24 September 2020

Sparse Days Meeting 2020  23 - 24 November 2020 Virtual Workshop   The annual Sparse Days meeting will be held this year as a virtual event, on 23 - 24 November 2020. Sadly, because of the pandemic, we will not be able to have a normal face-to-face Sparse Days at Cerfacs this year. We will be holding an online version from 3pm to 7pm on 23 and 24 November. The timing is chosen to accommodate participants from North America since, at normal Sparse Days, we have a good representation from there. A registration form  is available on this conference website where you can also submit a title and an abstract for any proposed talk. We will probably be using the Webex system and will post details about how to connect to all people who register.Read more