Additional notes on the 2010-10-09 case


Cirrus clouds and contrails in satellite imagery

Similarly to the ground view, even when looking at the satellite imagery it is rather difficult to decide about the origin of the large cirrus field above Bohemia and Austria. It is probably a mixture of both - natural cirrus, and remains of older dissipating condensation trails (contrails). Some of the contrails (more recent ones) are sharply defined, while some other (older ones) are already dissipating, merging with the surrounding cirrus. 

Meteosat-8 (MSG-1) rapid scan loops, RGB bands HRV and IR10.8, 05:00 - 07:00 UTC in  MPG | MOV  formats basically show the movement of the clouds only. The bluish color represents high cold clouds - "natural" cirrus and contrails, and midlevel altocumulus clouds. Yellowish tint indicates the lowest, relatively warm stratus clouds.

NOAA-16 satellite imagery (AVHRR instrument), 06:59 UTC (about one hour later, after the end of the timelapse movie):

The "aging" of contrails might be revealed in a corresponding RGB loop from the MSG satellite; however its somewhat lower resolution is insufficient for this. Hopefully, it should be possible with the Meteosat Third Generation, which will have resolution comparable to that of the present AVHRR instrument flown on the NOAA/POES and MetOp satellites.


Satellite data sources: CHMI and EUMETSAT. Further information on the MSG RGB composite products is available here (brief) or here (detailed), and references to scientific publications on contrails are here.