Last month the manufacturer Boeing announced it was preparing to test a new laser technology allowing pilots to detect CAT up to ten miles away, although given the 550 mph cruising speed of most passenger jets, this would only give about 60 seconds’ notice.
“Unless aviation meteorologists become better at forecasting patches of turbulence, passengers will face increased discomfort levels from in-flight bumpiness and an increased risk of injury,” said Professor Williams.
“Air travellers can expect the amount of time they spend flying through turbulence confined to their seats to double or maybe even treble on some routes.”
Published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the study predicted that severe turbulence over North America will increase by 110 per cent from 2050, 90 per cent over the North Pacific and 60 per centover Asia.
The model also include the first turbulence predictions for the Southern Hemisphere and tropical regions of the planet, estimating an increase in severe turbulence over South America of 60 per cent, and Australia and Africa of 50 per cent.
Aircraft are currently thought to spent about three per cent of their cruising time in light intensity CAT, and about 1 per cent in turbulence of moderate intensity.
Dr Manoj Joshi, who co-authored the research from the University of East Anglia, said: “This study is another example of how the impacts of climate change can be felt through the circulation of the atmosphere, not just through the increases in surface temperature itself.”
Q&A | Turbulence
What causes turbulence?
Air tends to flow as a horizontal snaking river called a jet stream. A jet stream can sometimes be thousands of miles long but is usually only a few miles wide and deep. Just like a fast-flowing river swirling against the riverbank, where the edge of the jet stream interacts with slower moving air, there may be some mixing of the air which causes turbulence.
Can it be avoided?
You cannot see turbulence, you cannot detect it on radar and you cannot accurately forecast it, but there are other ways of avoiding it. "In the main we rely on reports from other aircraft, which we hear either directly or which are passed on by air traffic control," said British Airways pilot, Steve Allright. "We then consider the options available to us. Our endeavours to fly at an altitude that has been reported as smooth may be prevented by several constraints such another aircraft occupying that level, or the weight of the aircraft at that time."
Is turbulence more likely on certain routes?
Any airport is at the mercy of strong winds on any given day. The same applies to jet streams on any given route, although there is generally more chance of turbulence crossing the ITCZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone) when flying south across Africa, for example.
How bad can turbulence get?
Flight crews around the world share a common classification of turbulence: light, moderate and severe. "Severe turbulence is extremely rare," said Allright. "In a flying career of over 10,000 hours, I have experienced severe turbulence for about five minutes in total. It is extremely uncomfortable but not dangerous. The aircraft may be deviating in altitude by up to 100 feet (30 metres) or so, up as well as down, but nothing like the thousands of feet you hear some people talking about."
What should I do?
Keep your seatbelt fastened and keep calm.
4 October 2017 • 12:01am
original story HERE