Bumpier Plane Flights Predicted as Global Warming Disrupts High-Altitude Air Currents
Passengers should get used to buckling up more on commercial flights in the coming years, because flying may get a lot bumpier.
A new study says that as a result of global warming, air currents at altitudes used by commercial airliners will become less stable, causing more turbulence.
“Our research suggests that we’ll be seeing the ‘fasten seatbelts’ sign turned on more often in the decades ahead,” study co-author Paul Williams of the University of Reading’s National Centre for Atmospheric Science in southeastern England told Agence France-Presse in an email.
Williams and his colleagues studied the North Atlantic jet stream, one of the world’s busiest air corridors, that sees an average of 600 flights a day between Europe and the United States.
They determined that if carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doubles within 40 years, turbulence could become 10%-40% more forceful at altitudes used by jetliners.
“Turbulence strong enough to make walking difficult and to dislodge unsecured objects is likely to become twice as common in transatlantic airspace by the middle of this century,” Williams added.
The study states that aircrafts currently spend about 1% of their flight time weathering strong turbulence, resulting in damaged planes, injuries to hundreds of passengers each year, and $150 million in annual costs to the airline industry.
To Learn More:
Climate Change Predicted to Cause More In-Flight Turbulence for Passengers (by Agence France-Presse)
Climate Change Will Lead to Bumpier Flights, Say Scientists (by Damian Carrington, The Guardian)
Intensification of Winter Transatlantic Aviation Turbulence in Response to Climate Change (by Paul D. Williams and Manoj M. Joshi, Nature Climate Change) (abstract only)
2012 U.S. Heat Record Said to be Due to Climate Change (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Climate Change Deniers Grasping at Clouds (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Insurers Prepare for Climate Change…Except in U.S. (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
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