Climate change can lead to higher flight turbulence in future: Research

Climate change to create future flight turbulence: researchers warn

Climate change is posing a variety of unexpected consequences, and one of them is turbulence in future flights, according to a new study.

The movement of so-called jet streams in Earth’s atmosphere is being affected by warming air in addition to higher concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2). As our planet’s climate keeps on getting warmer and warmer, scientists expect instances of turbulence to drastically increase in the future.

Using supercomputers, scientists simulated the changes in the movement of air at cruising altitudes, and estimated that the odds of severe turbulence at altitudes between 30,000 and 40,000 feet will likely soar 149 per cent if atmospheric CO2 levels get doubled.

Nearly 700 people suffer minor injuries, and some suggest those numbers are overly conservative, as many incidents and injuries go unreported.

Paul Williams, a climate scientist at University of Reading, “For most passengers, light turbulence is nothing more than an annoying inconvenience that reduces their comfort levels, but for nervous fliers even light turbulence can be distressing.”

Currently, more than 800 instances of severe turbulence occur, injuring dozens of passengers and flight attendants aboard American carriers.

The alarming findings of the new study were detailed in the latest edition of the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.