Climate Change Will Make Airplane Rides More Turbulent

Deny climate change all you want, but just get used to a bumpy ride. A really bumpy airplane ride, that is:

For their analysis, they simulated atmospheric conditions at an altitude of about 12 kilometers (a typical cruise altitude for airliners) in the northern portion of the North Atlantic, a region that includes most transatlantic routes. During winter months, when clear-air turbulence is at its worst in that area, 16 of the 21 often-used ways in which scientists measure turbulence suggest that the average intensity of the plane-rattling phenomenon (image depicts turbulence intensity on a random winter day) will be between 10% and 40% stronger when CO2 concentrations are double their preindustrial value, the researchers report online today in Nature Climate Change. Accordingly, the frequency of moderate-or-greater turbulence—intensities at which passengers will experience accelerations of 0.5 g or more, which are strong enough to toss items about the cabin—will rise by between 40% and 170%.


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