Formation and Evolution of a Contrail Grid - Satellite Time-Lapse Video

Trailspotter

Senior Member.
A week ago, on January 9, 2016, a vast contrail grid was formed over the Southeastern Australia. Its images were captured by all three satellites in the NASA Worldview: Terra, Aqua and Suomi NPP. The Terra image below is a composite of two swaths, the right one was taken at 23:55 (8-Jan-2016) UTC and the left one at 01:30 UTC:

The Aqua and Suomi satellites passed over this area later, at about the same time, 04:05 and 4:00 UTC, respectively. Separated by a few hours, these images give us just snapshots of the grid, the older contrails in which probably dissipated and were replaced with younger ones.

Fortunately, it was possible to follow the evolution of this particular contrail grid thanks to the Japanese weather satellite Himawari-8. It is located on a geostationary orbit above the Equator and a meridian that passes through Japan and Eastern Australia, so the images of this area are available on the Himawari-8 Real-Time Web.

Here is a time-lapse video of the Southeastern Australia made of the Himawari-8 images taken with 10-minute intervals on January 9, from 7 AM to 7 PM AEDT (20:00 - 08:00 UTC):

The location and spread of the grid is in a complete agreement with the forecasted wind and RH at 250 hPa:
Earth_SEAus_201601090000.png
There was a long band of wet air spreading across the region, and the anticyclone centred west of Melbourne, which created an easterly wind along the band carrying contrails and rotating them due to the gradient of wind speed.

The band of wet air laid across several Australian major air traffic routes, both domestic and international. Most of them originate or terminate in Melbourne, but there are also routes between Sydney and Adelaide and Sydney and Hobart that were crossing this initially invisible cloud, leaving persisting and spreading contrails. Note that the best resolution of Himawari-8 instruments is only 500 m, so the contrails would have to spread quite a bit to be detected. Therefore, there also would be a delay between the flight crossing the band and the appearance of its contrail. It would hinder the identification of individual flights, but there is a clear correlation between the FR24 playback of the day and the timings on new contrails in the
Himawari-8 images:
FR24_SEAus_720p.gif
The aircraft are filtered by altitude; shown are only those flying 30,000 ft or higher (apologies for such a small gif, I have a problem with uploading a bigger one).
 
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Trailspotter

Senior Member.
My first thought about using satellite time lapse animation was it could be combined with the animation of air traffic, like the contrail science map by @Mick West. Such a combination would make a very good demonstration of the contrail grids resulting from regular air traffic (and very high relative humidity at the cruising altitudes). Regrettably, I'm lacking necessary skills for putting all information together in one display.

My second thought was about relating the satellite view of the contrail grid evolution to the ground observations. A usual narrative tells how the bright blue sky in the morning turns into a hazy sky in the afternoon, being transformed by numerous spreading contrails. The main problem with this narrative is that upper air moves with a significant speed, so the afternoon haze is less likely to result from the morning contrails formed over a given area. The OP video shows how the contrails, which mostly were formed at the east end of the band, gradually drifted in westerly direction. By the noon (01:00 UTC), the contrail induced cirrus covered about one half of the band of wet air from the East, but the western half remained relatively clear (more transparent). Later in the afternoon (after 05:00 UTC = 16:00 AEDT), the cirrus density increased rather sharply over the entire band, transforming an invisible cloud into a visible one. It seems more likely that this nearly simultaneous transition in both denser and clearer halves occurred naturally (e.g., due to decrease of the Sun radiation) rather than it was triggered by the spreading contrails.

Unfortunately, as the grid occurred over less populated inland areas, there are little photographic records of it from the ground available online. The best one that I found is this panoramic photo, taken in southerly direction from the town of Griffin, NSW at 13:08 camera time:
Griffith 1 - 2016 by Ian Granland, on Flickr

Here is a new (recently uploaded) photo taken at about the same time (13:14) in an unknown location at the eastern end, between Melbourne and Sydney:
Big Sky by Richard, on Flickr
 
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Trailspotter

Senior Member.
Breaking News:

There is a new contrail grid just been formed in the Eastern Australia north of Sydney that can be watched in real time on the Himawari-8 site:
Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 22.58.09.png
It is smaller than that in OP and, although it already persists for more than one hour, probably would not that long.
The wind and relative humidity forecast at the altitude of 250 hPa suggests that a southwesterly wind will cary it toward the Gold Coast, but the band of humid air will be pushed further East in the ocean, away from the main air traffic routes:
Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 22.59.43.png
Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 23.01.14.png
 

Lisa P

Active Member
I am 100km north of Brisbane and had 2 long persistent contrails to the south east just before midday today 19th Jan so the humidity must be hitting that area now. I went for an hours surf and they slowly crept north. Didn't spread too much and kept there form quite well. if I had the time I would have got the flights etc. I could see the higher cirrus haze in the far distance S.S.E. behind the lower cloud. From my observations over the last 2 years we are coming up to persistent contrail season soon (April - May).
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
The Himawari satellite view is excellent, it's a shame it doesn't cover this hemisphere.

The next generation GOES geostationary satellites are due to be launched this year but I'm not sure whether they will provide this level of imagery.
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member.
Update on the yesterday (January 19, 2016) grid in the Eastern Australia:
Two gifs below are animation of Himawari8 satellite images and FR24 playback for the same 5-hour interval from 8 am to 1 pm AEDT (21:00 - 02:00 UTC)
ezgif.com-crop-2.gif

FR24_EAus_20160119.gif
The grid initially was formed at the crossing of the international routes between Sydney and East Asia and the domestic routes Melbourne - Brisbane and Adelaide - Brisbane.
In a good agreement with the yesterday's forecast the grid was carried toward Brisbane by southwesterly wind, the direction of which happened to be aligned nearly perfectly with the Melbourne - Brisbane route. The production of new persistent contrails in the original site ceased as soon as the grid containing patch of humid air moved further northeast in the area with less air traffic. Also, its relative humidity gradually decreased. By the time this patch reached the Brisbane area, its RHw values ~80% still supported contrails' persistence, but at a significantly decreased spreading rate. This is in agreement with the eyewitness (@Lisa P) observations above. Eventually, both contrail-induced and natural cirrus were blown away into the ocean.

Interestingly, the pictures from the Earth server obtained today for 2016-01-19 03:00 UTC (below right) using more recent data are slightly different from the yesterday's "true" forecast for same date and time(below left):
Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 22.39.02.png
It seems to me that the Earth data for the past days may be a bit more accurate than the forecast for the future days.
 
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Lisa P

Active Member
To me this post is important because it shows the mathematics of contrail formation even tho accuracy of the weather soundings may not be 100% accurate. I think it is a key in unlocking a bit of bunk in the chemtrail believers mind. I wanted to choose a 'love it' icon for Trailspotters post just above but realised its a blokey site so I guess 'winner' will have to do! Have just been out spotting non-persistent contrails again on my bike ride this morning! There goes my 'rare' theory. Checking the radar and soundings everything lines up.
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member.
Here is another time-lapse video of a contrail grid in South East Australia, made of the Himawari-8 images taken the last year, on October 5, 2015. It covers the same area as the OP video for the same time interval, from 7 AM to 7 PM AEDT (20:00 - 08:00 UTC):

The wind and relative humidity forecast shows a band of wet air over this area, which is wider than that in OP. However, unlike OP, the centre of anticyclone is at the north, so there is a westerly wind along the band carrying contrails to the East:
Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 20.20.15.png
The most of the flights in this area were along the East Coast, like OP. However, unlike OP, their contrails were blown to a drier area where they dissipated. At the end of the day, the excessive vapour in the band condensed into natural cirrus clouds. Again, like OP.
 

Marin B

Active Member
This might be slightly off topic, but thought I could piggy-back to this thread...
I know a chemtrail believer who thinks that pretty much all cirrus cloud cover (aka the "milky white skies") is formed by airplanes spraying as part of a massive geoengineering program. That cirrus can be formed by commercial airline traffic is just proof that the commercial airlines are part of the program. I've thought that if I could get a time-lapse video showing cirrus cloud cover forming without any airplane involvement, it might possibly (though highly unlikely) persuade this person to believe that there is such thing as natural cirrus cloud cover. I've been unsuccessful at getting such a video - I've only captured cirrus passing by, and not the actual formation. But, today I found a really nice Youtube video that shows natural cirrus formation:

 

Lisa P

Active Member
This might be slightly off topic, but thought I could piggy-back to this thread...
I know a chemtrail believer who thinks that pretty much all cirrus cloud cover (aka the "milky white skies") is formed by airplanes spraying as part of a massive geoengineering program. That cirrus can be formed by commercial airline traffic is just proof that the commercial airlines are part of the program. I've thought that if I could get a time-lapse video showing cirrus cloud cover forming without any airplane involvement, it might possibly (though highly unlikely) persuade this person to believe that there is such thing as natural cirrus cloud cover. I've been unsuccessful at getting such a video - I've only captured cirrus passing by, and not the actual formation. But, today I found a really nice Youtube video that shows natural cirrus formation:


Would it help to go to a second hand bookstore and find old weather books. They show cirrus clouds and old fishermen and farmers (and surfers!) can tell you about mackerel skies and mares tails as they are used to help predict the weather, I was told it meant a change in the weather. I just had half a sky full of them today. Some of the ice clouds may have been assisted by contrails but as I don't have all day to sit outside and watch I wouldn't know but certainly been around as long as I have been surfing 40 years and there are books and paintings that prove longer.
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
Not much to add to member "Lisa P"s comments except? They are completely accurate.

There continues to be on-going "bad" science in support of so-called "chemtrails", and the above post explains the real science quite well.
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
This is also quite a nice example of how a change in conditions causes contrails to become visible ahead of cirrus cloud arriving. It's an overnight timelapse. Notice how the sky is crystal clear until about 0:32, despite numerous aircraft crossing. Then suddenly the contrails start to persist, just ahead of the cloud approaching from the west (the direction the camera is facing).

 

Marin B

Active Member
Would it help to go to a second hand bookstore and find old weather books. They show cirrus clouds and old fishermen and farmers (and surfers!) can tell you about mackerel skies and mares tails as they are used to help predict the weather, I was told it meant a change in the weather. I just had half a sky full of them today. Some of the ice clouds may have been assisted by contrails but as I don't have all day to sit outside and watch I wouldn't know but certainly been around as long as I have been surfing 40 years and there are books and paintings that prove longer.

I might give the old weather book approach a try. I should have known yesterday, as I was trying to take time lapse video of cirrus clouds passing by that it would be raining by this morning!
 

Marin B

Active Member
This is also quite a nice example of how a change in conditions causes contrails to become visible ahead of cirrus cloud arriving. It's an overnight timelapse. Notice how the sky is crystal clear until about 0:32, despite numerous aircraft crossing. Then suddenly the contrails start to persist, just ahead of the cloud approaching from the west (the direction the camera is facing).

Nice video. Thanks!
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Actually sorry I was thinking of another book, just looked up my receipt, and I bought my copy (from which the above photos are taken) in 2007 for $30.
 

Marin B

Active Member
Actually sorry I was thinking of another book, just looked up my receipt, and I bought my copy (from which the above photos are taken) in 2007 for $30.
I'm impressed you can track down a receipt from 2007! Today's price was $30.45. A bargain if it works as proof that mackerel skies are not "haarped clouds".
 

skephu

Senior Member.
I find more and more that chemtrail believers only accept a deep blue sky with fluffy fair weather cumulus clouds as natural. Anything else will be labeled as geoengineered, sprayed, haarped, aerosolized sky, weather modification, etc. Youtube now contains lots of videos that show completely natural skies, labeled as blatant geoengineering/chemtrails, etc. So this is how they can claim that they are being sprayed 24/7.
 
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