A recent study concluded that aircraft turbulence over the Atlantic Ocean is increasing due to climate warming.
In a new study, scientists concluded that there is a significant statistical increase in the movement and direction of air masses associated with turbulence experienced by aircraft flying over the North Atlantic.
This statistical increase in turbulence has real effects on global aviation traffic, given that about 3,000 aircraft fly over the North Atlantic daily. Due to crowded air traffic, but also due to the fact that the region is exposed to polar air masses, scientists have chosen to analyze it in their study.
The study of the turbulence focused on the movement of the air masses influenced by the temperature contrast between the equator and the North Pole. A more pronounced contrast is associated with a faster movement of the air masses from west to east.
In this study, meteorologists at Reading University concluded that, in the case of higher altitudes, reaching the stratosphere above the North Pole, the temperature decreases in response to climate changes in the Arctic region. Towards the equator, scientists have observed an opposite phenomenon: rising temperatures at higher altitudes.
Temperature changes in different regions of the stratosphere are complemented by changes in temperatures in different regions of the troposphere and, for the most part, over time they tend to balance. However, scientists have noticed a tendency for the air masses in these regions to not balance as much, which results in the turbulences aircraft flying over the Atlantic have to face.
The researchers concluded that, in the future, they will see an increase in the proportions of these turbulences compared to the current situation. They also pointed out that climate projections in the North Atlantic area show that this region will be globally the most affected by these phenomena.