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The Traveller's Magazine
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Scientists from East Anglia and Reading universities warn that flights between London and New York could get bumpier with stronger turbulence in the future due to climate change. Here’s why.

Please, fasten your seat belts

It takes nothing more than supercomputer simulations to forecast how climate change will affect our lives in the future. Scientists at East Anglia and Reading universities have discovered that air turbulence will dramatically increase in the atmospheric jet streams over the North Atlantic. This means that you can bet your flights to NYC will be bumpier than usual as time goes on.

Their findings concluded that turbulence will rise by 40 to 170% by 2050 and that the likliest outcome will be the doubling of airspace with turbulence around the world.

Turbulence strength will also rise by 10-40% which means that you’ll be seeing that “seatbelt” sign flashing a lot more during your trans-Atlantic flights in the coming decades. Turbulence is more than just an inconvenience when you’ve been waiting for that in-flight drink trolley to come by.

Dr. Paul Williams, of the University of Reading explains,

“Air turbulence does more than just interrupt the service of in-flight drinks. It injures hundreds of passengers and aircrew every year – sometimes fatally. It also causes delays and damages planes.

The total cost to society is about $150million (£98million) each year. Any increase in turbulence would make flying more uncomfortable and increase the risk to passengers and crew.”

Atmospheric irony

Williams went on to explain that the whole situation is pretty ironic since aviation is a major reason why we’re facing climate change in the first place. It looks like the climate is plotting its revenge by making flights more turbulent and uncomfortable for flyers.

Scared of flying? How to deal
Img: bnilsen / Flickr cc.

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