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Research reveals that Aviation turbulence intensifies with global warming


Figure showing the increase in disruption from 1979 to 2020. Credit: Mark Prosser et al.

Scientists have found that planes flying in the skies today are much rougher than they were four decades ago, after producing a new analysis showing that turbulence has increased with climate change.

New research from the University of Reading shows that clear air turbulence, which is invisible and dangerous to aircraft, has increased in various regions around the world.

The research found that at a typical point over the North Atlantic – one of the busiest flight paths in the world – the total annual duration of severe turbulence increased by 55% from 17.7 hours in 1979 to 27.4 hours in 2020. Moderate turbulence increased by 37% from 70.0 to 96.1 hours, and mild disturbance increased by 17% from 466.5 to 546.8 hours.

The team behind the study, which was published in Geophysical Research Letterssuppose that the increases agree with effects of climate change. Air warmer than carbon monoxide2 emissions Increased wind shear in jet streamswhich enhances the clear air disturbances in North Atlantic And globally.

Ph.D. Researcher Mark Prosser said, “Turbulence makes flights bumpy and can sometimes be dangerous. Airlines will need to start thinking about how to manage increased turbulence, as it is costing the industry 150-500 million dollars annually in the United States alone. Every additional minute spent traveling through turbulence increases wear and tear on the aircraft, as well as the risk of injury to passengers and flight attendants.”

While the United States and the North Atlantic saw the largest increases, the new study found that other busy flight routes over Europe, the Middle East and the South Atlantic also saw significant increases in turbulence.

Professor Paul Williams, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Reading who co-authored the study, said: “After a decade of research showing that climate change will increase clear air turbulence in the future, we now have evidence to suggest that the increase is already underway. We should invest in Improve turbulence prediction and detection systems, to prevent harsh air from turning into rougher flights in the coming decades.

more information:
evidence of significant increases in net atmospheric turbulence over the past four decades, Geophysical Research Letters (2023). doi: 10.1029/2023GL103814

Provided by the University of Reading

the quoteResearch (2023, June 8) Shows Aviation Turbulence Intensified as World Warms. Retrieved June 8, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-06-aviation-turbulence-world.html

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