Climate change might adversely affect the aviation industry

Published on : Thursday, April 6, 2017

planeScientists at the University of Reading conducted a pioneering study into the relationship between anthropogenic climate change and transatlantic clear-air turbulence.


Almost all frequent flyers have faced turbulences and some are strong enough to throw unbuckled passengers around the cabin of a plane, which could become three times more common due to climate change.


The study was done on different turbulence strengths and looked at how they might change in future.


The results revealed that the average amount of light turbulence in the atmosphere is likely to increase by 59 per cent, light-to-moderate turbulence by 75 per cent, moderate turbulence by 94 per cent, moderate-to-severe by 127 per cent, and severe by 149 per cent. It also claimed that climate change will generate stronger winds within the jet stream and will cause the atmosphere to become more unstable.


Although for most of the passengers light turbulence is nothing more than an annoying inconvenience, the nervous fliers even find the light turbulences as distressing. Dr Paul Williams, who conducted the research, said that even the most seasoned frequent fliers might be alarmed at the prospect of a 149 per cent increase in severe turbulence, which frequently hospitalises air travellers and flight attendants around the world.


According to the report, rising sea levels and storm surges will threaten coastal airports, while extreme weather events, which are set to become more common as the climate warms, will increase the probability of flight delays and disruptions. For the aviation industry, climate change should be a major concern because the meteorological characteristics of the atmosphere influence airport operations, flight routes, journey times, and the safety and comfort of passengers and crew.

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