The effects of climate change on air travel are real
Climate change is a pressing problem facing humanity today. The effects of various human activities are clearly seen in the rising global temperatures, melting glaciers, and the degrading health of people. This often raises the question- where is our world heading? What’s there in the future? Well, these are actually tricky questions to answer.
Climate change is real, and it’s not only the rising sea levels or global warming that’s confirming this. The degrading quality of air travel is also a sign of climate change. Most of us may not realize but the increasing number of flight cancellations due to weather-related factors certainly reflects the alarming issue of climate change. Lets’ try to understand the connection between air travel and climate change here.
Air travel in a warmer world
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) warned in its 2016 environmental report that rising sea levels resulting from global warming will seriously affect airports in low-lying areas. Not only this, the increased number of clouds will also affect the degree of visibility. The report states climate change is likely to pose new challenges and risks before a risk-averse aviation industry. Rising global temperatures will have a negative impact on the quality of people’s air travel in a number of ways, which are as follows:
- Increased flight cancellations and delays
Hot weather thins the air, which makes it difficult for aircrafts to leave the ground. The situation is even tougher for smaller aircrafts because they fail to create enough lift for leaving the tarmac. Dozens of commercial airlines have cancelled flights at Southwest airports owing to intense summer heat, which disrupts smooth flying. Thus, hot weather conditions are feared to increase flight delays and cancellations.
- Greater turbulence
The University of Reading predicted that the rate of in-flight injuries will increase three-fold by 2050 as air turbulence is increasing globally. Air turbulence is likely to increase as the global climate continues to change at the current rate. Although turbulence cannot be detected, there has to be a proper forecast system to ensure the safety of passengers on the plane.
- Longer flight duration
Scientists have found that increasing global temperatures will make flights longer for people. The circulation of air on the upper level of the atmosphere influences flight times significantly. Changes in temperature change the air circulation, thus increasing the flight time for people. Longer flight duration means the plane would burn more fuel and add to the CO2 level in the atmosphere, which accentuates the problem of global warming.
- Rising ticket prices
Flight delays and flight delay compensations increase the cost for airline carriers, who try to push ticket fares up to meet the cost. Increase in air turbulence also pushes the cost of fuel, which, in turn, pushes the prices of air tickets up. Flying would become a less affordable option for people if the climate continues to change this way.
Climate change will certainly degrade the quality of air travel for people. As such, it’s time that we take steps to reduce our carbon footprint today and create a better environment tomorrow.