Contrail FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

1: Where do contrails form?

2: Why are there more short-lived contrails than persistent contrails?

3). What causes the swirling pattern in a contrail?

4). Why are we able to see contrails on some days but not on other days?

5). Do contrails drastically affect weather patterns?

6). Has there ever been observation of rain from contrails?

7). Why are contrails white? Contrails are formed from the exhaust of an air plane. We usually think of exhaust as being black and dirty.

8). Why can we see a jet high in the sky, yet it is not making a contrail?

9). There is a persistent contrail in the sky, and the middle portion of the contrail has disappeared. Is the disappearance caused by wind or air temperature?

10). Why are so many of the persistent contrails we see so narrow in width, almost a pencil line?

11). In which layer of the atmosphere do we normally see contrails?

12). Is it possible to observe contrails as indicators of changing weather?

13). There were two planes in the sky. One was flying north/south and left a persistent contrail. The other plane was flying east/west and did not leave a contrail. Why did one plane leave a contrail, but the other did not?