Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh, The Loh Down on Science is a fun way to get your daily dose of science plus a dash of humor in less than two minutes.
Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh
Airs Weekdays 2:43 and 3:43 a.m.

How climate change may affect future air travel

Here’s news about climate change that could make you sick—air sick!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Meet Paul Williams from the University of Reading, U-K.  He wondered if rising CO2 levels—and the associated atmospheric warming—could affect air travel.  He focused on weather patterns in the busy flight corridor between the U-S and Europe. 

He modeled twenty-one scenarios considering various factors that trigger turbulence, like wind speed and direction.  Result?

The future looks … shaky.  Literally.  Every simulation said the same.  By 2050, at cruising altitude, turbulence will intensify.  By ten to forty percent! 

But here’s the kicker.  The strong, heart-in-the-throat type?  Could triple in number.  Talk about a bumpy Boeing! 

Pilots could navigate around the chaos. With longer flights.  Burning extra fuel.  Which means pricier tickets.  Not to mention even more CO2 and turbocharged turbulence.

In short, if CO2 levels continue to rise, it could be good times for the boating industry!

Except for the boiling water and giant lobsters!  Climate control study for another day.

***** For more 90-SECOND SCIENCE FACTS, click here.*****

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Follow us on Twitter!