A commercial flight track database for upper tropospheric aircraft emission studies over the USA and southern Canada
Garber, Donald P.; Minnis, Patrick; Costulis, P. Kay
A new air traffic database over the contiguous United States of America (USA) and southern Canada has been developed from a commercially available real-time product for 2001-2003 for all non-military IFR flights above 25,000 ft. Both individual flight tracks and gridded spatially integrated flight legs are available. On average, approximately 27,350 high-altitude flights were recorded each day. The diurnal cycle of air traffic over the USA is characterized by a broad daytime maximum with a 0130-LT minimum and a mean day-night air traffic ratio of 2.4. Each week, the air traffic typically peaks on Thursday and Friday and drops to a low during Sunday with a range of 18 %. Flight density is greatest during late summer and least during winter. The database records the disruption of air traffic after the air traffic shutdown during September 2001. The dataset should be valuable for realistically simulating the atmospheric effects of aircraft in the upper troposphere.