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Contrails – Making Flying More Sustainable with Google AI

Award: Future Impact Pencil

Future Impact Pencil / Future Impact / Design / 2024

Contrails — the thin, white lines you sometimes see behind airplanes — have a surprisingly large impact on our climate. The 2022 IPCC report noted that clouds created by contrails account for roughly 35% of aviation's global warming impact, over half the impact of the world’s jet fuel. Google Research teamed up with American Airlines and Breakthrough Energy to bring together huge amounts of data — like satellite imagery, weather and flight path data — and used AI to develop contrail forecast maps to test if pilots can choose routes that avoid creating contrails.

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