PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Flying through turbulence is never fun, though it’s usually nothing too scary, but that could change.
Researchers at the University of Reading, in the United Kingdom are predicting a spike in severe air turbulence by 2050 with an increase of 149 percent.
As John Gagliano, aviation attorney and former Navy pilot explains, “Severe turbulence occurs when the pilots have trouble seeing the controls, reaching and keeping control of the flight controls, that’s obviously very dangerous.”
Just yesterday, more than two dozen passengers were injured when an Aeroflot flight suffered severe turbulence on its way from Moscow to Bangkok.
Passengers were thrown around the cabin and many suffered broken bones and head injuries.
This at type of difficult to forecast and detect turbulence is called “clear air” turbulence.
The researchers predict instances of “clear air” turbulence will become more frequent as a result of increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
This effect of global warming results in changes to the speed, strength and pattern of jetstream.
Long-distance flights are more susceptible to turbulence due the altitude at which they fly, as Gagliano states, “Most of the time you’re in the jet stream you can be above the jet stream depending on where you’re flying, so there are a lot of variables but generally speaking, in the mid 30’s, so 35,000 feet plus or minus a few thousand feet.”
Not only will an increase in sever turbulence lead to more anxiety for passengers, but it can cost airlines to pay more for fuel and maintenance cost which could lead to higher ticket prices.