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Climate Change Jet Turbulence Could Get Worse as CO2 Levels Rise

Image: Climate Change Jet Turbulence Could Get Worse as CO2 Levels Rise
Climate change could impact jet turbulence for the worse, research shows. (Ilja Mašík/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 07 Apr 2017 05:44 AM

If scientists are right about climate change, the worsening of jet turbulence could be an unpleasant byproduct of rising carbon dioxide levels.

New research published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences tested how the doubling of carbon dioxide levels expected by the century’s end will impact turbulence at 39,000 feet.

Computer simulations were used to project weather data and show the impact on turbulence, and found that all levels of turbulence from mild to severe would increase because of strengthened wind shears (changes in wind speed and direction), USA Today reported.

Severe turbulence was projected to increase up to 149 percent, which could be enough to heave passengers and crew across the plane and cause injuries, according to USA Today. FAA statistics show dozens of people are injured by severe turbulence each year.

Another impact of rising carbon dioxide levels could be that jet fuel and maintenance costs rise, The Washington Post reported.

The Post also said forecasting algorithms could help airplanes avoid turbulent areas, and that severe turbulence would still be rare, even with the increase. Other researchers said the study might not be applicable outside the area studied, the North Atlantic, because of differences in air patterns.

“I think it’s been decades that all of the attention has been on the impact of such industries like aviation on climate, but this is something that’s flipping it around and looking at the impact of climate on aviation,” said University of Colorado at Boulder atmospheric and oceanic scientist Kristopher Karnauskas, the Post reported. “If we can really understand the two-way street that we’re dealing with, that’s really going to help us understand ultimately how the climate will change in the future as a coupled system between the people and the atmosphere.”

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If scientists are right about climate change, the worsening of jet turbulence could be an unpleasant byproduct of rising carbon dioxide levels.
climate change, jet, turbulence, worse
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2017-44-07
Friday, 07 Apr 2017 05:44 AM
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