Turbulent times: Global warming is making your flights more bumpy

  • Atmospheric dynamics around the world are becoming more complex due to global warming

Livemint
Published5 Mar 2023, 05:38 PM IST
The research becomes more significant as recently some flights have reported extreme levels of turbulence in which some passengers were also injured
The research becomes more significant as recently some flights have reported extreme levels of turbulence in which some passengers were also injured

The debate around climate change and global warming is gaining ground for a while now. The ill effects of the rising temperature are already around and your flights getting bumpier is also one of them. Climate experts have warned that global warming is now impacting aviation operations and increasing turbulences in flights.

The research becomes more significant as recently some flights have reported extreme levels of turbulence in which some passengers were also injured. On Saturday, a business jet was buffeted by severe turbulence over New England in which one person was killed.

This came days after a Lufthansa flight that experienced “significant turbulence” was diverted to Washington Dulles International Airport and seven people on board were taken to area hospitals.

How global warming is making flights more turbulent?.

Atmospheric dynamics around the world are becoming more complex due to global warming. The rise in temperatures is at all levels of the atmosphere and it also influences winds at various altitudes. Since 1979 phenomenon known as wind shear (the degree to which winds vary at different altitudes) has seen an increase of around 15%, according to a report in Washington Post.

High wind shear creates differences in atmospheric pressure and wind speeds at various altitude levels. It creates sort of a rippling effect affecting the movement of flights, which increases the risk and frequency of turbulence.

Usually, flights face turbulence while passing through or near a cloud, and pilots are generally instructed to avoid clouds. But, global warming is resulting in more "clear skies" air turbulences, the Washington Post report added. Cloud and weather-related turbulences are expected and forecasted by the airlines, but clear skies turbulence is difficult to predict, making it surprising and naturally more dangerous.

Airlines around the world are taking this atmospheric change into consideration while forecasting turbulences and minimizing bumpy rides, but unsafe flight operations are seen as another casualty of climate change.

 

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First Published:5 Mar 2023, 05:38 PM IST
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