Airplane Turbulence Will Increase Over The Years, Climate Change Scientists Say

April 13, 2017 11:35 am
(Aaron Foster/Getty)
(Aaron Foster/Getty)
(Aaron Foster/Getty)
(Aaron Foster/Getty)

In the next few years, there may be more white-knuckle rids on the horizon for airplane travelers.

Plane turbulence is predicted to become progressively rough due to increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, according to a new study published in Advances in Atmosphere Sciences. The study from the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading measured the effects of doubling the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere on a plane cruising at 39,000 feet, and the results are staggering.

Paul Williams, a researcher on the study, writes that light turbulence could increase by 59 percent; the type of turbulence that’ll tip your whiskey neat will be up by 94 percent. The kind that has caused passenger and crew injury in the past could increase by 149 percent.

“Even the most seasoned frequent fliers may be alarmed at the prospect of a 149 percent increase in severe turbulence, which frequently hospitalizes air travelers and flight attendants around the world,” Williams wrote, in part. He noted that the study paints the “most detailed picture yet” of how aircraft turbulence will respond to human influence Earth’s climate.

Read more about it, and how increased CO2 levels present challenges to both pilots and planes here.


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