For those of you who already aren’t fans of getting in a flying metal object that to you still defies the laws of physics, then this news will justify why road tripping is your best friend.
Scientists from the University of Reading in the UK have conducted a study that will break traveller’s hearts, proving that Turbulence- the scariest part of any flight– is about to get a whole lot worse making even the best of travellers a little shaky. So, who or what do we blame? None other than climate change.
The study focused predominantly on the North Atlantic flight corridor between Europe and the United States, looking at the varying strengths of turbulence in that flight route to observe and predict how it will change in the future. They linked climate change to the increase in turbulence due to the stronger winds generating in the jet stream- i.e the main cause of turbulence. From their findings, scientists predict that light turbulence will increase by roughly 59%, moderate turbulence by 94%, moderate to severe turbulence by 127% and the worst kind, severe turbulence increasing by a massive 149% in the future.
Researcher Dr Paul Williams was shocked by the results as he understands that “For most passengers, light turbulence is nothing more than an annoying inconvenience that reduces their comfort levels, but for nervous flyers even light turbulence can be distressing… However, even the most seasoned frequent flyers may be alarmed at the prospect of a 149 per cent increase in severe turbulence, which frequently hospitalises air travellers and flight attendants around the world.”
People may see turbulence as something that simply disrupts their comfort and makes them grip their seats a little tighter, but there are roughly 25 cases of turbulence related injuries each year in Australia, with many others going un-reported. In December 2016, there were reports of passengers being “tossed like rag dolls” on a Qatar flight, and in September 2016 passengers on board their United Airlines flight “thought they were going to die” when they hit turbulence.
Dr Williams said their research will continue and begin to observe and record turbulence in numerous flight routes around the globe –“We also need to investigate the altitude and seasonal dependence of the changes, and to analyse different climate models and warming scenarios to quantify the uncertainties”.
I for one, am hoping that someone will hurry up and invent turbulence free teleportation. Scientists, I’m looking at you!