Climate Change Set To Take Fliers On A Bumpy Ride

If you’re one of those people who start turning green every time your airplane hits a bit of turbulence, you’re in for a rough ride in the coming years. According to a new study, air turbulence is likely to go up by 10-40 percent by 2050, causing more passengers to reach for the airsickness bag.

The report published in the Nature Climate Change journal says that clear air turbulence – a sharp movement of air that happens even in good weather – is likely to get worse in the coming decades because of climate change.

The report’s authors studied the air over the North Atlantic, which is one of the busiest flight corridors in the world. They believe that as greenhouse gases increase, clear air turbulence will also rise – putting more planes in danger’s way. What’s more, this particular type of turbulence doesn’t show up on an airplane’s radar, making it tough for pilots to dodge. Planes that are given a heads up by other aircraft might be able to detour around the turbulence, but that would mean longer flight times and using up more fuel, which in turn contributes to the climate change problem.

But don’t start popping the motion sickness pills just yet. Some scientists say the study isn’t conclusive and believe there needs to be more research into the matter.

[Photo credit: Flickr user woodleywonderworks]

Virgin America helps the green movement

Fresh spring food selections isn’t all that Virgin America is up to these days. Virgin America is also interested in lessening its impact on the environment. To prove it, the California-based airlines has joined The Climate Registry, the non–profit organization dedicated to keeping track of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) to aid in better regulation so that efforts to be more environmentally friendly have a fighting chance.

In fact, Virgin America, the first U.S. airlines to join up with the Climate Registry, is ahead of the curve. By the end of 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency may have emission standards for aircraft and aircraft engines. Because Virgin America has agreed to add to the transparency of measuring emissions, it’s helping the cause of seeing how much airplanes impact the environment and what to do to lessen adverse effects.

One might wonder just what an airline can do to be more environmentally friendly considering the amount of fuel it takes to fly, but Virgin America has thought of such details.

For example, the new Airbus A320 fleet is 25% more fuel efficient than other domestic carriers. Virgin America also does the following as part of its efforts to fly more green:

  • single engine taxiing
  • idle reverse landings
  • regulate speed to reduce fuel burn
  • use advanced avionics to fly more efficiently

There is a certain hopefulness to read about an airline that is interested in taking care of the environment while it figures out how to turn a profit. [PR Newswire: United Business Media]