Open Eye Gallery: Contrail Cirrus: The Impact of Aviation on Climate Change

Open Eye Gallery: Contrail Cirrus: The Impact of Aviation on Climate Change

Open Eye Gallery: Contrail Cirrus: The Impact of Aviation on Climate Change

Venue: Open Eye Gallery
Date(s): 7.3.24
Time(s): 18:00 - 20:00



Join us for an in-conversation on the impact of aviation on climate change, with a focus on the effects of contrail cirrus, with photographer John Davies and Geoff Maynard, Chairman of Greener by Design, the Royal Aeronautical Society’s sustainability think tank. This discussion will be chaired by Professor Andy Morse, Professor of Climate Impacts.

Cirrus Aviaticus is a series by photographer John Davies, exhibited as part of LOOK Climate Lab 2024. The B&W infrared photographs are of the north sky above Liverpool and Lancashire, showing condensation trails and contrail-induced cirrus clouds produced from jet engine exhaust fumes. Scientific research suggests they are the largest net warming component of aviation emissions.


John Davies

‘I draw inspiration from issues relating to my surroundings and conditioning. Initially I develop an interest in documenting aspects of my immediate social political landscape. Importantly, making images of a landscape that attempts to question our acceptance and perception of the inevitable consequences of living in a post imperialist society and within a post industrial landscape’.

Since 1981 John Davies has worked on long-term projects relating to the urbanised landscape. In particular the enormous changes that have taken place in the UK – the world’s first industrial society and the first to de-industrialise. This work has focussed on the industrial heartlands of Britain and to create a narrative by telling visual stories about process, change and transformation. During this time he has also worked on various exhibition and publication projects throughout Europe particularly in France, Italy and Spain. He has produced various books, most notably ‘A Green & Pleasant Land’ (1987), ‘Cross Currents’ (European landscapes 1992), ‘The British Landscape’ (2006) and his last monograph was ‘Retraced 81/19’ (2019).

In 2000 he began to document the civic spaces of various UK post-industrial cities. By 2006 he started to focus on parks and public open space. With an interest in local politics he became actively involved with various Liverpool campaigns to save parks and open green space from development schemes. In 2018 he became a founding director of Liverpool Open & Green Spaces

Community Interest Company to help enable legal actions.

Since 2012 he has been experimenting with an infrared camera and making time-lapse movies and still images of the north sky over Liverpool with a particular interest in the contrail cirrus clouds formed by aviation.

Geoff Maynard

Geoff has worked in the aviation sector for 25 years, undertaking a wide range of aviation related commissions, many of an environmental nature. Educated at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and gaining an honours degree in Natural Sciences, Geoff has held leading senior positions in both the private and public sectors. Initially joining British Rail as a graduate trainee, he held a series of operating and commercial posts, including Director London Rail Development, where he was actively involved in the planning of improved rail links to London’s airports. Subsequently he joined an aviation consultancy business, working on many major projects including Heathrow’s T5, the Olympic Terminal in Beijing, and a new airport for Swaziland.

For the last 13 years he has been Managing Director and co-owner of Altra Capital Ltd, a specialist Management Consultancy company focusing on providing bespoke management advice, especially in the transport and financial sectors. He was elected Chair of Greener by Design in 2014, having previously chaired the operations group.

He was a member of the joint Cambridge University/MIT project to design a silent (<57dBA) aircraft, and is also a visiting lecturer at Brunel University, giving a series of lectures every year since 2005 on current aviation environmental issues for the Aviation MSc module. He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, a member of their Aviation Policy Group and a Fellow of the RSA.

Professor Andy Morse

Andy Morse is Professor of Climate Impacts in the School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool, U.K.  His Ph.D. is in Atmospheric Physics from the University of Manchester, where in the mid 1980s he worked in the north Pennines and measured the amount of water impacted from hill clouds on to the moorland surface. This coupled with chemistry measurements of the water allowed the calculation of pollutant inputs to the fragile upland ecology via this previously unseen route of ‘occult precipitation’.

Andy now mostly works on the impacts of climate variability and climate change on human and animal health.  He is best known for his work at seasonal scales using ensemble predictions of seasonal climate variability on vector borne diseases. He has worked with a range of infectious diseases including mosquito borne diseases:- malaria, Rift Valley fever, dengue and Zika; as well as tick borne diseases. He develops disease risk models that are driven by a range of forecast and climate model data over a range of timescales. Much of his work has been focussed on sub-Saharan Africa.

He was co-awarded the 2006 World Meteorological Organisation’s Norbert Gerbier-MUMM International award for the work on integrating impacts models within seasonal ensemble forecasting systems. He is a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society and other professional organisations.


Image:  artwork by John Davies, photo by Rob Battersby