Climate Change to Increase the Risk of Severe Turbulence on Planes
It is believed that climate change will increase the amount of severe turbulence on planes by 2050-2080
Researchers at the University of Reading in England analyzed computer simulations of future atmosphere and focused on clear air turbulence; it is especially problematic as it is invisible.
Their findings show that turbulences at a typical cruising altitude of 39.000 feet is set to rise by 181% over the North Atlantic, 161% over Europe, 113% over North America, 92% over the North Pacific and 64% over Asia. These numbers are far from being friendly, even to those who are not afraid of heights.
Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority describes severe turbulance as large and abrupt changes in altitude or in the aircraft’s orientation, as well as “large variation in indicated airspeed.” Turbulences can be dangerous, as the aircraft may be temporarily out of control.
While turbulence does not usually pose a major danger to flights, it is responsible for hundreds of passenger injuries every year,” Luke Storer, a PhD researcher who worked on the study, said. “It is also by far the most common cause of serious injuries to flight attendants.”
“Air turbulence is increasing across the globe, in all seasons, and at multiple cruising altitudes,” Paul Williams, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Reading, said in a statement Wednesday.