Many air travelers are familiar with the phenomenon of turbulence. Suddenly you sag for a few seconds or are briefly pulled up out of your seat. When the machine glides through colliding bodies of air moving at different speeds, things can get uncomfortable. Severe turbulence can make even experienced flyers nervous. Usually everything calms down again quickly, but sometimes passengers injure themselves - sometimes with serious consequences - during their journey.
About 65,000 flights in the US experience mild turbulence each year, CNN reports. At about 5,500 even heavy. Paul Williams, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Reading in the UK, believes that climate change is changing the nature, amount and magnitude of turbulence and began analyzing the issue in detail back in 2013, to be published by the Royal Meteorological Society this spring became. "We ran some computer simulations and found that severe turbulence could double or triple in coming decades," he told CNN.
Climate change is primarily responsible for changing the so-called jet streams, i.e. air currents at high altitudes, and making them more unstable overall, as the "world" explained the phenomenon back in 2019. This leads to shear forces and these then to turbulence: "We were able to show that the vertical forces have increased by 15 percent since 1979," Paul Williams and his colleagues are quoted as saying.
Incidentally, the phenomenon of turbulence also occurs on shorter flight routes, which generally take place at lower altitudes, but has other causes. In short, short-term weather phenomena are usually decisive here, the effect of which - similar to that of "breaking off" jet streams - can cause similarly unpleasant consequences.
"The airline industry certainly takes the issue very seriously," says Sara Nelson via CNN, a flight attendant at United with 26 years of experience. She is also President of the Association of Flight Attendants, a union representing 50,000 flight attendants. However, for example, "the transition to sustainable fuel" must be accelerated in order to deal with the climate crisis." However, if nothing changes, it is to be feared that the aviation industry will contribute to the turbulence by continuing to produce high levels of conventional kerosene - especially during long-haul flights - will continue to increase.
Sources: Royal Meteorological Society, CNN, "World"