Turbulence in the Sky: How Climate Change Threatens Aviation Safety

Over the past 40 years, turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere over the Atlantic and other oceanic regions has increased by about 17-55%, posing a serious threat to aviation safety.

According to scientists from the University of Reading (UK), every extra minute spent in turbulent air increases aircraft wear and tear, as well as brings a lot of inconvenience for passengers and pilots. In addition, airlines now need to think about how to combat this problem, which costs U.S. corporations alone $150-500 million annually.

What is turbulence and why is it dangerous for aviation?

Turbulence is a special phenomenon that occurs in the atmosphere of the Earth, as well as in various liquid and gaseous media, with a sharp increase in the speed of air, gas or liquid flows. Under certain conditions in such cases, chaotically moving waves arise, which interfere with the further movement of matter of these media and the objects that are in them.

Turbulence occurring in clear skies poses a particular danger to aviation, since it is very difficult to detect from a great distance. As a result, aircraft are quite often caught in such zones, which are particularly common over the Atlantic and other open and extended areas of the world’s oceans.

Climatic intensification of turbulence

Recent research by scientists at Reading University has shown that over the past 40 years, turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere over the Atlantic and other oceanic regions has increased by about 17-55%. This is due to climate change and rising air temperatures. According to scientists, turbulence zones will occur 40-170% more frequently over the Atlantic and other Earth’s oceans over the next few decades.

Specifically, the overall duration and frequency of heavy forms of turbulence has increased by 55% since 1979, resulting in a typical airliner spending about 27 hours each year rather than 18 hours in such zones. Similarly, medium (37%) and light (17%) forms of turbulence have increased.

How do you deal with the problem of turbulence?

For airlines, this means taking steps to combat the problem of turbulence. One way is to use new technologies, such as aerodynamic sensors, which can more accurately detect areas of turbulence and warn pilots in advance. More flexible routes can also be used to avoid areas of turbulence.

In addition, further research in this area is needed to better understand the nature of turbulence and develop new methods to prevent it. As scientists point out, this is important not only for aviation safety, but also for combating climate change.

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