A few days ago, a paper was published by scientists Dr. Paul D Williams and Dr. Manoj M. Joshi which assessed the impact of global warming on weather systems over the next four decades. The study concludes that climate change will cause an increase in turbulence in the North Atlantic, one of the world’s busiest routes, by the middle of the century. The study found that the frequency of turbulence on the flights between Europe and North America will double in occurrence by 2050 and its intensity will increase by 10-40%.
According to Dr. Williams, the reason for an increase in turbulence is because climate change does not just simply warm the lower part of the atmosphere. Climate change also accelerates the jet stream, a fast flowing air current, and modifies its position. A greater acceleration makes the atmosphere susceptible to the instability in airflow that causes turbulence.
Although more turbulence might not necessarily mean more aviation crashes, the study suggests that more passengers and aircrew members will be injured and that there will be more delays and damages to planes. Currently, turbulence causes about $150 million a year in damages to planes and other expenses, said Dr. Williams. There is a high chance overall industry costs would rise as turbulence intensifies in the upcoming years, he stated.
The shifting of the jet stream over Europe has also been blamed for the UK’s record rainfall in 2012 and the current Arctic-like Spring in the Northern hemisphere.
If you would like to compensate for your emissions, click here!