Climate change is making plane turbulence worse and could make flights bumpier and more expensive Liberal-Liberal-Liberal-news

The interior of the plane after Lufthansa Flight 469 hit “severe turbulence” en route to Frankfurt, Germany.dr. roland schmidt

  • You may experience more turbulence on future flights, especially on transatlantic routes.

  • Climate change has altered the jet stream, causing more unpredictable turbulence in clear air.

  • For safe flight, experts recommend staying seated when the seat belt light is on and wearing your seat belt at all times.

TO Lufthansa flights that it had to land shortly after takeoff is just the latest example of extreme turbulence.

Each year, pilots report an average of 5,500 encounters with severe or greater turbulence. and that number has increased in recent yearsthanks to climate change.

Several other events have occurred only in 2023. The pilot had to Aborted landing due to strong turbulence on a Southwest flight, while extreme turbulence 25 people injured on a Hawaiian Airlines flight. On the Lufthansa flight, several people on board were injured.

And though death is due to turbulence very rarea passenger on a business jet died during severe turbulence March 4

Experts believe that severe turbulence may increase in the coming years as severe weather patterns continue around the world.

Why is the turbulence getting worse?

delta turbulence

Severe turbulence on airplanes can be extremely dangerous for passengers and flight attendants.Joe Justice/Scrum Inc.

turbulence It is any irregular and unexpected change in air movement that affects the altitude and motion of an aircraft.

It can range from a mild jolt or bump to severe pitching and rolling causing nausea or injuries, such as head banging against the seat.

primary causes Turbulence factors for commercial jets and commercial aircraft include storms, atmospheric pressure, and jet streams.

Pilots typically use their eyes, radar, and reports from other planes to spot storms and other signs of turbulence before the plane starts to shake. This gives them time to turn on the “fasten your seat belts” sign and signal passengers to take their seats.

But pilots also have to deal with clear-air turbulence, which is turbulence that has no visible cause.

Clear-air turbulence can cause the plane to shudder and shudder before the pilot can issue a warning, making it especially dangerous, and is this kind of turbulence that is increasing due to climate change.

The link between climate change and clear-sky turbulence

JFK turbulence injuries

In this still image taken from video provided by WNBC-TV News 4 New York, emergency medical personnel treat an injured passenger on a Turkish Airlines flight at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday, May 9. March 2019.WNBC-TV News 4 New York via Associated Press

One of the main culprits for clear-air turbulence is wind shear, which is a sudden change in wind speed and direction, particularly within jet streams.

“When the wind is blowing from the west at 100 miles per hour at 30,000 feet and is also blowing from the north at just 30 mph at or directly below 20,000 feet, it can be quite turbulent for an aircraft moving between those two altitudes. “. saying Stephen BennettChairman of the Committee on Financial Climate and Climate Risk of the American Meteorological Society, and Co-Founder and Climate Director of The Demex Group.

Simply put, high wind shear creates an unstable jet stream and faster wind.

Both play important roles in clear air turbulence, and changing global temperatures have already increased wind shear by 15% since 1979.

Also, clear-air turbulence tends to develop around upper-level jet streams, where planes normally fly. These fast-flowing bands of wind are strengthening with global warming, he said. isabella smithmeteorologist and PhD student at the University of Reading and lead author of a 2023 item on clear-air turbulence trends over the North Atlantic.

He is currently investigating changes in clear air turbulence caused by climate change.

Smith said the increase in greenhouse alleys It traps heat in the troposphere, the layer of the atmosphere closest to the surface. But this heat should have been released into the stratosphere, which is the next layer up. As a result, globally the troposphere warms while the the stratosphere cools at a fast pace.

“This increases the temperature gradient between the two layers, which strengthens the jet stream, which in turn creates a more unstable wind flow and increases clear-air turbulence,” Smith said.

Meteorological researchers predict even more Clear-air turbulence will double by 2050being severe turbulence the ones that increase the most.

“higher altitude flights over the North Atlantic you’ll find the most significant increase in severe turbulence,” Bennett said.

Airlines could take longer and more expensive routes to avoid turbulence

singapore airlines turbulence

Planes may have to reroute and take longer paths in the future to avoid turbulence, which could increase costs.Instagram / Alan Cruz

The turbulence of clear air causes a large percentage of weather related accidents in flights And turbulence in general is among the leading causes of injury. flight assistants.

Although the experts predict that the effects of climate change will only get worseyou most likely won’t have to worry about increased turbulence on future flights.

“While it may seem like flying could become more dangerous due to climate change, it’s not that simple,” Bennett said, partly because air routing systems will likely adjust so flights avoid highly turbulent areas.

“I also hope that new emerging technology will make clear-sky turbulence detection easier for decades to come,” Bennet said. “Even considering the impacts of climate change, it’s actually likely that flights will become safer over time rather than more dangerous.”

Smith added that severe turbulence is still very rare.

“If you fly across the Atlantic from, say, New York to London, just 3% of the atmosphere it is likely that it has slight turbulence inside. Only 1% of the atmosphere has moderately severe turbulence, and a few tenths of percent have severe turbulence,” he said.

“This percentage is increasing, so you may encounter more turbulence in the future. But it’s much more likely to be light turbulence, which won’t cause serious injury,” Smith said.

He adds, however, that airlines always try to avoid turbulence as much as possible. Therefore, increased turbulence will likely lead to more complicated flight paths, which could mean longer journeys and wait times, along with increased aircraft fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

In fact, avoiding turbulence can costs airlines an additional $22 million dollars each year, with additional emissions of 70 million kilograms of CO2, Smith said. The planes could also spend around 2,000 additional hours in the air annually, a research letter found.

As for flying safely, Bennett and Smith offer the same advice: Always keep your seatbelt on when seated, even when the seatbelt sign is off.

Read the original article at Business Insider

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *