Climate Change May Cause More Turbulent Flights In Future

Climate Change Air Travel

Not everyone is scared of flying, but even if you are not, once the plane goes whiz wheezing in the middle of the air, you begin to freak out. No one likes bumpy rides, on the ground or in the sky. You might imagine air travel will get even better with the technology advancement, but the bad news is that it will actually get worse, at least in terms of turbulence.

Dr. Paul Williams at the University of Reading conducted a study to conclude that climate change will cause severe turbulence raising a need for developing new flight routes. The study was published in the journal  Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.

Dr. Williams designed supercomputer simulations for calculating the effect of doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide on wintertime transatlantic clear-air turbulence at an altitude of 39,000 feet (12 km). The CO2 in our atmosphere is expected to double by the end of this century resulting in a climate change making the winds stronger which will lead to instability and an increase in turbulence. The studies came with a number to quantify the change:

“The average amount of light turbulence in the atmosphere will increase by 59 percent, with light-to-moderate turbulence increasing by 75 percent, moderate by 94 percent, moderate-to-severe by 127 percent, and severe by 149 percent.”

Dr. Williams projected his focus on the dependence of flight routes on the climate and how it will change.

“My top priority for the future is to investigate other flight routes around the world. We also need to investigate the altitude and seasonal dependence of the changes, and to analyze different climate models and warming scenarios to quantify the uncertainties.”

The studies are based on simulations but quite realistic. Developing new routes for flights is one solution, but acting seriously to at least slow down climate change should be a broader concern.

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