Global response of clear-air turbulence to climate change

Luke Storer (Lead Author), Paul Williams, Manoj Joshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)
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Clear-air turbulence (CAT) is one of the largest causes of weather-related aviation incidents. Here we use climate model simulations to study the impact that climate change could have on global CAT by the period 2050–2080. We extend previous work by analyzing eight geographic regions, two flight levels, five turbulence strength categories, and four seasons. We find large relative increases in CAT, especially in the midlatitudes in both hemispheres, with some regions experiencing several hundred per cent more turbulence. The busiest international airspace experiences the largest increases, with the volume of severe CAT approximately doubling over North America, the North Pacific, and Europe. Over the North Atlantic, severe CAT in future becomes as common as moderate CAT historically. These results highlight the increasing need to improve operational CAT forecasts and to use them effectively in flight planning, to limit discomfort and injuries amongst passengers and crew.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9976–9984
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number19
Early online date3 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2017

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