Flights to become more turbulent

Global warming disturbs jet streams in atmosphere

Flights across the North Atlantic could become a lot bumpier in future as the climate continues to change, scientists are warning. Global warming disturbs the jet streams high in the atmosphere, pushing them further north. Average wind speeds are predicted to get stronger and there will be more storms affecting air travel.
A number of studies are pointing to the fact that as carbon dioxide rises, turbulence will increase by between 10% and 40%. However, as CNN’s Richard Quest observes, “Turbulence on its own has never brought down a major airliner.”
Nevertheless, turbulence costs the airline industry $150 million a year and leads to hundreds of injuries to passengers and crew. Yet technology to detect turbulence is also becoming more sophisticated.
[pictured: Wake Vortex Study; courtesy NASA]


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