Turbulence is only going to get worse

Bad news for nervous fliers, scientists say plane turbulence is only going to get worse.

passengers experiencing turbulence

SJ is a regular travel contributor to YourLifeChoices. If she had one superpower, it would be teleportation – the ultimate cure for her fear of flying.

Do you want the good news or the bad news? Let’s start with the bad news. According to a new study from the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading, turbulence on planes is going to get a whole lot worse in the foreseeable future.

With climate change to blame, the paper claims that increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will make it harder for planes to navigate vertical wind shears, creating resistance and destabilising the aircraft – AKA, turbulence as we know it.

‘Light’ turbulence is predicted to increase by 59 per cent, while ‘moderate’ turbulence – enough to make you spill your drink – could increase by up to 94 per cent. And, if those stats weren’t scary enough, ‘heavy’ turbulence could increase by 149 per cent.

Researcher Paul Williams said of the study; “Our new study paints the most detailed picture yet of how aircraft turbulence will respond to climate change. For most passengers, light turbulence is nothing more than an annoying inconvenience that reduces their comfort levels, but for nervous fliers even light turbulence can be distressing. However, even the most seasoned frequent fliers may be alarmed at the prospect of a 149 per cent increase in severe turbulence, which frequently hospitalizes air travellers and flight attendants around the world.”

plane flying through dangerous weather

Not exactly music to any traveller’s ears, let alone for the more nervous fliers – the best thing you can do is make sure that you keep your seatbelt buckled when you’re not walking around the cabin. Many flight attendants say that it’s the passengers who don’t do this that end up getting hurt in heavy turbulence as there’s nothing to restrain them from bumping their head or being thrown around.

Of course if you’re flying United Airlines, turbulence and seat belts are probably the least of your worries!

You can read the full paper at Springer.

Does this news surprise you? How do you handle turbulence on flights?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    20th May 2017
    I use to hate flying and now I even love turbulence
    20th May 2017
    Me too, bugger this a to b in a straight line slowly acceding and decending.
    20th May 2017
    A bit of a beat up Sue. Sensible travellers keep their seat belts on during the entire trip except when moving about the plane. On loose means it is hardly noticeable.
    Having flown consistently for the last 8 years over long routes I have to say that turbulence is a non issue.
    20th May 2017
    Why do they have to connect the climate change scam to everything
    20th May 2017
    Climate change is only a 'scam' for the coal industry and the mentally challenged who are convinced by the litany of lies coming from this industry so that we will not do anything about the bleeding obvious.
    The state of glaciers and sea ice all around the world is the canary in the coal mine (sic). But still it is a scam.
    The disappearing ice shelves, thinning ice at the poles and ice shelves the size of Tasmania breaking off and floating away is "seasonal variation" according to the coal industry. But it is stil a scam.
    Last NASA produced a CO2 graph for the last 600,000 years and since about 1950 the CO2 levels have risen way beyond any other time in human history. But still it is a scam.

    Sorry Steff but you need to do a LOT of reading rather than repeat coal industry propaganda as though it were fact rather than BS meant to deceive people.

    And for the record the changes in our world will undoubtedly play out with changes in the atmosphere. Blind Freddy would surmise that.
    20th May 2017
    Look up 'little climatic optimum' which occurred in medieval times it raised the temperatures in Europe by at least one degree, later the little ice age happened and the earth came out of that in the late 1800s and/or early 1900s.
    It is an interesting read for those interested in climate change.
    20th May 2017
    Look at the CO2 graph on this link:


    Show me where medieval times come in on this one. This is black and white and the graph is a few years old now so the real position the planet is in would be worse.

    I fail to understand that people take a position but do not do the hard work to find real evidence preferring instead to accept the propaganda from the coal industry to support their beliefs. I had to smile when the coal senator on Hanson's team tried to have the education system changed so that kids could be taught that climate change is a scam. Luckily this was ignored and this guy went away.
    20th May 2017
    All man made of course

    20th May 2017
    climate change must have started over a 1000 years ago as Iceland was then covered by forests, our old micky boy will tell you that that is also a scam,
    Nasa report:
    Mass gains of the antarctic ice sheet, net gain 112 BILLION TONS of ICE gained, our old micky boy will tell you that that is also a scam,
    might it be our old boy micky might be a scam?
    20th May 2017
    Coal inspired BS. What else would one expect from a coalition stoolie. No evidence. Just statements which defy logic.
    I'll stand by NASA. The coal industry has tried to discredit this organisation and I can hear the laughter all the way back to the good old US of A.
    There have been no net gains in ice shelves. Satellite images just reinforce that. Atmospheric temperature have been on the rise for some time but the hidden heat sink is the ocean which is the mechanism to hold off atmospheric increases. Clearly no knowledge about the Great Barries Reef and many others around the planet under stress. &00 km of GBR now dead. Seasonal variation....yeah right. Coal BS delivered by a coalition stoolie. Hope you get burnt by your own deceit and betrayal of the planet. Could not happen to a nicer person.
    20th May 2017
    Lets completely destroy our energy security and load up with useless oversubsidised renewables
    But hey were saving the planet
    20th May 2017
    So funny. Ignorance is bliss but then I am assuming the post is genuine. Not sure about that.
    Renewables are here and coal only has a few years left. When battery storage arrives it's gane over but by all means do not come along for the ride and keep paying increasing bills for your coal fired power.
    The only caveat in this arms race will be that we need a backup for that one in a hundred day(s). Gas? Oh yes,,,we sold every molecule of that to Asia. Thank you to Johnny Howard for that. Maybe we can frack in Rose Bay or near the PM's house. That should save us.

    22nd May 2017
    mickey's usual comment "ï'll stand by nasa's comments", well mickey, if you can read their statement, knowing your reading capabilities of the english language is of an inferior quality, it sometimes may help you to engage a translator, supplied by our Australian Government free of charge, not to make you look like the fool unable to read the facts as stated in those reports, fact stated by Nasa:: THE ANTARTIC ICE SHEET NET GAINED 112 BILLION TONS OF EXTRA ICE, but of course our so-called expert mickey the clown knows better, complains the skiing in France was no good, what does one expect going in April, europe's springtime, that is the time to see the return of mother nature, the sunshine after the winter, the birds nestling, the storks returning from Africa, buds returning on the wine grapes, etc, etc, do I have to go any further, mickey, mickey you may think you look intelligent with a skimask on but please do it at the right time of the european year and as for sleeping under woolen rugs in a ski resort, I sleep under a doona every day of the year, summer or winter, thin or thick, the temperature is the master.

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