Blue By You? Colored Contrails Conundrum

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This picture with my iPhone was taken outside Schoolhouse Fabrics in Floyd.

The first time I saw a metallic blue contrail I thought it was just some odd play of light at that particular angle and time of day.

The second time I saw blue razor-thin lines across the sky they existed alongside of the usual white contrails, with the two planes at similar altitudes, normal-looking passenger jets I supposed, visible as they created their tracks across an otherwise cloudless deep-blue sky.

Over the past few months, I’ve seen this maybe a half-dozen times. Ann was with me the last time when we were gathering firewood along the creek. She had no trouble telling that we were looking at distinctly blue contrails.

I have not been able to find out anything to explain if this is a new type of engine, a new type of fuel or if the chemistry of these non-white vapors has changed in other ways.

I’m surprised not to find the chemtrails conspiracy folks all over this. Surely it’s not just the two of us on Goose Creek that see these blue streaks. Anybody else seen them? Any clues as to why they have appeared in the last few months?

Related: contrails matter to climate.

Re-routing flights could reduce climate impact of contrails | MNN – Mother Nature Network

Published by fred

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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2 Comments

  1. No clue! Your photo doesn’t make me sit up and say whazzup. Maybe if i had been there. I just assume that the amount of condensation is light enuf to not make a bright white “cloud,” and the thinness of the vapor trail is allowing the blue sky to show through.

  2. I don’t think this explains it. I’ve paid attention to hundreds of contrails as a cloud-watcher. And there were contrails at the same time and the same altitude (judging from the comparable size of the jets involved). Only noticed blue in the past six months.

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