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Turbulence Ahead: How Air Travel is Changing in an Era of Climate Shifts

9 months ago
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Air travel has undergone significant changes in recent years, with technological advancements, increased passenger demand, and changing weather patterns. One noticeable change is the increase in turbulence during flights.

Researchers have observed a rise in severe turbulence cases, and experts suggest that this trend may continue in the future, impacting the flying experience for passengers. This article will explore the reasons behind these changes and the potential implications for air travelers.

In-article image for the article "Turbulence Ahead: How Air Travel is Changing in an Era of Climate Shifts"

The Rise in Turbulence

According to researchers at the University of Reading, reports of clear-air turbulence have increased. They have found that the duration of severe turbulence on flights over the North Atlantic has increased by 55 percent over the past four decades. Climate change is believed to be a significant factor contributing to this increase.

The jet stream, a fast-flowing band of air at high altitudes, has become more chaotic and stronger due to global tropospheric warming. This change in the jet stream can lead to unpredictable and sudden turbulence during flights.

Clear-air turbulence poses a unique challenge for pilots and passengers because it is undetectable by onboard radar equipment. Unlike other types of turbulence caused by weather systems, clear-air turbulence can emerge unexpectedly, making it difficult for pilots to warn passengers. The increasing occurrence of clear-air turbulence presents a safety concern for air travel.

The jet stream plays a crucial role in air travel efficiency. It is an atmospheric highway where winds can reach up to 250 mph. Pilots often utilize the jet stream to shorten flight times and conserve fuel.

However, the jet stream is becoming a problem for flights due to clear-air turbulence. This turbulence can suddenly impact aircraft flying through the jet stream, posing a risk to passenger safety.


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