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Climate Change Will Lead To Severe Turbulence And Bumpier Rides On Aircraft

First Posted: Apr 08, 2017 03:50 AM EDT

Flight turbulence will become a more common occurrence in the next few decades due to climate change, a new research has suggested. According to researchers from the U.K.’s University of Reading, severe turbulence will go up by 149 percent, moderate turbulence will see a 94 percent increase and light turbulence will increase by 59 percent.

The study published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences suggests that climate change could increase turbulence levels dramatically due to greater carbon dioxide levels. This will create more powerful vertical wind shears that destabilize aircraft traveling in the atmosphere. The new study used the atmosphere’s supercomputer simulations to understand how wintertime transatlantic clear-air turbulence will change at a height of of about 39,000 feet if there were 560 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere.

"For most fliers, light turbulence is nothing more than an annoying inconvenience that reduces their comfort levels, but for nervous fliers even light turbulence can be distressing," said study author Dr. Paul Williams, as reported by Travel Pulse. "However, even the most seasoned frequent fliers may be alarmed at the prospect of a 149 percent increase in severe turbulence, which frequently hospitalizes flight attendants and air travelers around the world."

According to Ubergizmo, fliers should not get too alarmed because turbulence is more of an annoyance rather than something that brings down an airplane. However, severe turbulence can lead to injuries or deaths that are caused when passengers are thrown around the cabin or the content from the luggage bins fall down. This is one of the reasons why cabin crew advise fliers to keep their belts on for safety, even when the belt sign has been put off.

Dr. Williams has also added that the top priority for the future is to study other flight routes around the globe. This is apart from investigating the height and seasonal dependence of the changes and to “analyze different climate models and warming scenarios to quantify the uncertainties."

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