Cityvisitor blog

Nervous flyers don’t read on…

Please fasten your seatbelts as we are about to experience some turbulence – even more than usual.

Climate change is expected to increase the amount of buffeting aeroplanes experience over the next few decades.

A study, carried out by Paul Williams, Professor of Atmospheric Science at The University of Reading, says: “The climate is changing – not just where we live at ground level, but also where we fly at 30,000-40,000 feet.

“Climate change may have important consequences for aviation, because the meteorological characteristics of the atmosphere influence airport operations, flight routes, journey times and the safety and comfort of passengers and crew.”

Ironic really, since aircraft and the increase of air travel has probably contributed to the climate change in the first place.

Turbulence is not just a minor discomfort either – according to Professor Williams’ report, it is responsible for 687 minor injuries to flight attendants, 38 serious injuries to flight attendants, 120 minor injuries to passengers and 17 serious injuries to passengers. And that’s not even taking into account all the spilt coffees.

A lot of the turbulence is also what is known as clear air turbulence (CAT), which is very difficult to detect in advance.

I’m not necessarily a nervous flyer, but I can’t say I enjoy turbulence either. Maybe climate change will mean we get some half decent summers in the UK so we don’t have to go abroad for our holidays.

http://www.met.reading.ac.uk/~williams/publications/

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