Saturday, July 15, 2017

Climate change may make it too hot to fly, study says

[LA Times] A spike in summer temperatures in Phoenix last month forced American Airlines to cancel dozens of flights because some planes used by the carrier’s regional airline could not operate in such extreme heat.
Airlines can expect to face such problems more often because of extreme temperatures caused by global climate change, according to a study from Columbia University.
The study, which appeared Thursday in the journal Climatic Change, estimated that 10% to 30% of fully loaded planes may have to remove fuel, cargo or passengers to fly during the hottest parts of the day or wait for temperatures to drop.
As temperatures rise, air becomes less dense, which means that aircraft wings generate less lift as a plane gains speed along a runway, experts say.
The study said average global temperatures have increased nearly 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since about 1980 and will rise by as much as 5.4 degrees by 2100. Heat waves will become more prevalent, causing more problems for airlines, according to the study by Columbia University doctoral student Ethan Coffel and climatologist Radley Horton. Read More