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Climate Change Threatens Flights Worldwide | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A China Eastern Airlines plane (L) taxis near a Chinese C919 passenger jet before its scheduled first flight at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai on May 5, 2017. / AFP PHOTO

London- Climate change will significantly increase the incidence of severe turbulence worldwide, a new study has found.

The study, which was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, said that severe mid-flight turbulence could triple by 2050.

Researchers from the University of Reading have created a mathematical model to predict how clear-air turbulence (CAT) – the most troublesome type – will be affected by global conditions from 2050-2080.

They said CAT, which is invisible and can’t be see on radars, is strong enough to throw people and luggage around an aircraft cabin.

At a typical cruising altitude of 39,000 feet, the study found severe turbulence will be 180 percent more common over the North Atlantic, 160 percent more common over Europe, 110 percent over North America, 90 percent over the North Pacific, and 60 percent over Asia.

The Southern Hemisphere will also experience an increase, though less than in the Northern Hemisphere. The skies over South America will experience a 60 percent increase in severe turbulence, Australia 50 percent, and Africa 50 percent.

Luke Storer, a PhD researcher who worked on the study, said: “While turbulence does not usually pose a major danger to flights, it is responsible for hundreds of passenger injuries every year.”