Everyone knows atmospheric turbulence that causes, among other things, annoying and uncomfortable splashes when traveling by plane. In fact, these ailments are responsible for 71% of shipboard injuries and are usually of a mild nature. Now, due to global warming, the frequency and intensity of these turbulences will increase in the coming years, as scientists from the University of Reading (UK) have discovered. Therefore, it’s time to fasten your seat belts.
Despite winter is the most favorable season for turbulencecomputer models suggest that by 2050, summers will register the same intensity of this phenomenon as the winters of 1959.
The article titled ‘Clear air turbulence trends over the North Atlantic in high resolution climate models’, containing the results of the research, was published in the international journal. Climate Dynamics.
Clear Air Turbulence (CAT) is one of the most harmful air related hazards. It usually thrives in cloudless environments of the upper atmosphere. These events, which give no visual clues to the pilots and cannot be detected by the onboard radar, seem to pop up out of nowhere.
In fact, prolonged exposure to this type of atmospheric disturbance shortens the ship’s lifespan and the length of time it can stay in service. Due to more intense turbulence than normal, aircraft equipment can be damaged and even serious structural damage can occur.O. In extremely rare cases, it can even crash the plane. During moderate turbulence, cargo, luggage or passengers themselves may slip and cause damage or injury.
In December 1997, a Boeing 747 flight UA826 operated by United Airlines encountered a CAT incident en route from Tokyo to Hawaii. Boeing moved upward at 1.8 times the force of gravity, It moved sideways at 0.1 g, and six seconds later the aircraft descended rapidly, causing a negative g-force of -0.8 g. As a result, one passenger died and others were seriously injured. The aircraft was supposed to be withdrawn from service one year before the scheduled deadline.
Transatlantic air travel often encounters CATs due to the presence of mid-latitude eddy-driven jet streams over the North Atlantic. According to the researchers, CAT events occur in regions of instability driven by the so-called ‘shear effect’ of the atmosphere. They usually occur in high-level jet streams, in narrow bands of strong winds that have a strong seasonal dependence.
14% more for each degree of heating
The intensity of a jet stream depends on latitudinal and horizontal temperature gradients. Due to a series of temperature changes between the pole and the equator, Jet streams are expected to intensify in the ‘wind shear’ effect with human-induced climate change.
To analyze this phenomenon, the study used three global climate modeling simulators covering the 1950–2050 period. By combining these models with 21 mechanisms for turbulent airflow, the researchers created a wide variety of CAT-generated scenarios.
According to this research, For every 1°C of near-surface global warming, moderate CAT events will increase by 14% in summer and autumn, and by 9% in winter and spring. Moderate turbulence is understood to cause vertical accelerations of up to 0.5 g.
In an earlier study by Paul D. Williams, professor of atmospheric science in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading, If pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 concentrations doubled, these events would increase by 40% to 170% in the North Atlantic.
As turbulence will increase with each season, existing flight routes will have to deal with these annoying situations more and more. One option for airlines might be to try to avoid areas where CATs occur. This can result in longer transatlantic flights as well as thousands of additional hours of accumulated fuel costs.
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James Sean is a writer for “Social Bites”. He covers a wide range of topics, bringing the latest news and developments to his readers. With a keen sense of what’s important and a passion for writing, James delivers unique and insightful articles that keep his readers informed and engaged.