Night flights worse for environment - new study

Aircraft contrails enhance the greenhouse effect because they trap heat in the same way as clouds. During the day, their warming effect is not as pronounced because contrails reflect sunlight back into space, which helps to keep the planet cool.

This means contrails are responsible for about half of the aviation industry's impact on climate, according to Guardian Unlimited.

The research team used a computer program in analyzing flight data and the atmospheric conditions to find out when contrails are most likely to form and their impact on the atmospheric temperature.

The study revealed that in addition to night takeoffs, flights during the winter months account for half of the annual warming from contrails,

Shifting all UK night flights to the daytime would save the equivalent of 2.5% of the UK's annual carbon dioxide emissions, he said.