Tuesday 13 June 2023

‘Climate change making flights more turbulent’

‘Climate change making flights more turbulent’

As climate change warms the planet, your next trip away could get rockier.

That’s according to research from Reading University, revealing that flight turbulence has risen alongside the world’s temperatures.

From 1979 to 2020, severe turbulence shot up by 55%, the researchers claim.

They put this down to warmer air impacting wind speeds at higher altitudes, which leads to shakier travels.

The trips which witnessed the highest increase were those across the US, with Europe and the Middle East also experiencing more turbulence.

Co-author of the study, Professor Paul Williams, said: “Following a decade of research showing that climate change will increase clear-air turbulence in the future, we now have evidence suggesting that the increase has already begun.

“We should be investing in improved turbulence forecasting and detection systems, to prevent the rougher air from translating into bumpier flights in the coming decades.”

Aside from the danger to travellers severe turbulence can cause, the researchers also reveal that it costs the aviation industry in the US up to $500 million a year in damages.

Pilots commonly have to also use more fuel to avoid turbulence, which has a worse environmental impact.

Professor Williams added: “Nobody should stop flying because they're afraid of turbulence, but it is sensible to keep your seat belt fastened all the time, unless you're moving around, which is what the pilots do. That is almost a guarantee that you will be safe even in the worst turbulence.”

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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