# How to read the Appleman chart to predict contrail formation?

I stumbled upon the Appleman-chart, that makes it possible to predict the formation of contrails.

How do I use this chart?

• This is so good it deserves to be a self-answered question ðŸ‘Œ
– user14897
Jan 21, 2018 at 12:10
• A well researched question.
– mins
Jan 21, 2018 at 15:15
• Very nice! Thank you for sharing this useful procedure and the sources used. Something more on my agenda -- a contrail predictor program or map. Feb 6, 2018 at 13:30
• @not2qubit Yeah, it's an incredibly interesting topic. But just be aware of one thing: During my further research, it came out, that the Appleman-chart is made for low-bypass-engines. Jeffrey Peters has made new charts for high-bypass-engines. Here is his work. The new charts begin on page 20 (Chrome), respectively page 14 of the document. Feb 6, 2018 at 13:47
• @Pilothead Didn't know this happened, I moved it. Jun 4, 2018 at 20:36

First of all, the Appleman-chart itself:

Source

Now, let's say we want to know if contrails can form at FL340 at my position, a pretty standard cruise flight level. Because flight levels are standard pressure, we can easily look up the pressure, corresponding to the flight level.

100 ............................................ F530
150 ............................................ F450
200 ............................................ F390
250 ............................................ F340
300 ............................................ F300
400 ............................................ F240
500 ............................................ F180
600 ............................................ F140
700 ............................................ F100
850 ............................................ F050


Source

Ok, we've got the pressure, it's 250 hPa.

Now we need the temperature at this flight level. I am using a winds aloft chart for this.

Source

Let's just take a value from what's nearest to my position, -56 degree Celsius in this case.

Now we can look this up on the chart.

Ok, looks like we've got contrails to see. But am I missing something?

I quickly tried to check the result, by looking out of the window. I expected following:

• Contrail existing
• Very short contrail. I looked up relative humidity for that flight level as well. It's very low, only 3 to 1 percent. And the lower, the humidity, the faster a contrail sublimes and fades away.

Here's the data for the humidity:

-------------------------------------------
PRES   HGHT   TEMP   DWPT   RELH   MIXR
hPa     m      C      C      %    g/kg
-------------------------------------------
258.0   9699  -54.9  -79.3    3   0.00
250.0   9900  -54.3  -80.3    3   0.00
222.0  10665  -52.1  -82.1    2   0.00
200.0  11340  -52.9  -83.9    1   0.00
198.0  11404  -53.0  -84.0    1   0.00
185.0  11839  -53.4  -84.4    1   0.00
150.0  13180  -54.7  -85.7    1   0.00


So, I first looked on flightradar to search a plane I could possibly spot from my position.