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This work deals with two kinds of contrails. The first comprises a large number of optically thin contrails near the tropopause. They are mapped geographically using a lidar to obtain their height and a camera to obtain azimuth and elevation. These high-resolution maps provide the local contrail geometry and the amount of optically clear atmosphere. The second kind is a single trail of unprecedentedly large optical thickness that occurs at a lower height. The latter was observed fortuitously when an aircraft moving along the wind direction passed over the lidar, thus providing measurements for more than 3 h and an equivalent distance of 620 km. It was also observed by Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) sensors. The lidar measured an optical depth of 2.3. The corresponding extinction coefficient of 0.023 km-1 and ice water content of 0.063 g m-3 are close to the maximum values found for midlatitude cirrus. The associated large radar reflectivity compares to that measured by ultrasensitive radar, thus providing support for the reality of the large optical depth. © 2010 American Meteorological Society.




© Copyright 2010 American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act September 2010 Page 2 or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 USC §108, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a web site or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, requires written permission or a license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy, available on the AMS Web site located at ( or from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or

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