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Earth Stats Transportation Science

Climate Change Will Boost Plane Turbulence, Suggests Study 184

Posted by timothy
from the ready-made-climate-change-panic-movie-plot dept.
sciencehabit writes "Get used to a bumpy ride. The strength and frequency of atmospheric turbulence affecting transatlantic flights will increase by midcentury, a new study suggests. During winter months, 16 of the 21 often-used ways in which scientists measure turbulence suggest that the average intensity of the plane-rattling phenomenon will be between 10% and 40% stronger when CO2 concentrations are double their preindustrial value. Accordingly, the frequency of moderate-or-greater turbulence—intensities at which passengers will experience accelerations of 0.5 g or more, which are strong enough to toss items about the cabin—will rise by between 40% and 170%. As a result of pilots needing to dodge strong turbulence, flight paths will become longer, and fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions will increase—possibly leading to even more turbulence."
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Climate Change Will Boost Plane Turbulence, Suggests Study

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  • or, alternatively, none of those things will happen. Since the mid 90s billions of dollars and euros and yen have been wasted on climate models, most of which have been utterly useless. Even this year major factors have been discovered that render all previous models void, and the "climatologists" cherry-pick, cook the books, from the pile of models after the fact to try to justify their existence. This pseudo-science should have its plug pulled, it serves no purpose other than pumping "cap and trade" s

    • by i_ate_god (899684) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @12:03PM (#43402381) Homepage

      citation needed

      • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @01:05PM (#43403143)
        I could see two ways in which these studies are/will be wastes:

        1. By now, the studies are telling us what we already know, and aren't convincing policymakers or lobbyists to change because their opposition to curbing carbon dioxide emissions wasn't ever really based on skepticism of the science.

        2. When most of the developed world starts feeling the negative consequences, they'll do something to alleviate the problem. And it will be some short-sighted solution that no one really fully investigated. Like iron injection. To deal with the consequences of that will be a chain of other decisions terminating in gorillas freezing to death. The bill will be sent to people who weren't involved in the decision to ignore the early warnings about climate change anyway.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by catchblue22 (1004569)

      or, alternatively, none of those things will happen. Since the mid 90s billions of dollars and euros and yen have been wasted on climate models, most of which have been utterly useless. Even this year major factors have been discovered that render all previous models void, and the "climatologists" cherry-pick, cook the books, from the pile of models after the fact to try to justify their existence. This pseudo-science should have its plug pulled, it serves no purpose other than pumping "cap and trade" scams.

      Definiton of bull shit: [wikipedia.org]

      Bullshit is commonly used to describe statements made by people more concerned with the response of the audience than in truth and accuracy, such as goal-oriented statements made in the field of politics or advertising.

      "Bullshit" does not necessarily have to be a complete fabrication; with only basic knowledge about a topic, bullshit is often used to make the audience believe that one knows far more about the topic by feigning total certainty or making probable predictions. It may a

      • by Culture20 (968837)

        Bullshit is commonly used to describe statements made by people more concerned with the response of the audience than in truth and accuracy, such as goal-oriented statements made in the field of politics or advertising.

        Bullshit. Bullshit is just a non-PC way of saying citation needed.

        • Bullshit is commonly used to describe statements made by people more concerned with the response of the audience than in truth and accuracy, such as goal-oriented statements made in the field of politics or advertising.

          Bullshit. Bullshit is just a non-PC way of saying citation needed.

          It is a derogatory term for a despicable practice.

    • Do you actually believe that, or are you just parroting some pseudo-skeptic's nonsense?

    • ...who believe in conspiracy theories, is that no amount of evidence will change your mind as you are not a rational person. Thankfully, people like yourself are in the vast majority. One wonders what a persona such as yourself is doing reading a site like Slashdot in the first place. Or are you just here to troll? A sad existence either way.
      • by plover (150551)

        Shilling is not a bad existence. You get paid by your masters to argue in favor of their position, and you can ignore whatever other facts may make that position seem harmful over the long term, because you are able to spend their money today.

        He doesn't have to be directly in their pockets, of course. Perhaps he believes that by shilling for the Koch Brothers that he'll get cheaper gas or lower taxes. Maybe he prefers their flavor of John Birch racism. Whatever the reason, for him it's "profitable" in the s

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How dangerous is turbulence really?

  • HSR (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ichijo (607641) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @12:11PM (#43402447) Homepage Journal

    This is yet another reason to build high speed rail wherever it makes sense, between city pairs at least 100 miles apart where it starts to become too far to drive, and up to 500 miles apart where flying starts to become faster (curb to curb) and more cost-effective.

    • Re:HSR (Score:4, Informative)

      by SJHillman (1966756) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @12:18PM (#43402539)

      One of the issues with the high speed rail I've seen them try to implement is too many stops, so the train is only traveling at its top speed for a relatively short time before it slows down for the next stop.

      Then there's also the fact that a lot of "high speed" trains in the US are in the 40-60mph range... not very fast compared to what other countries have.

      • by Rolgar (556636)

        Another issue being utilization. You need to have the shorter trains get out of the way so passengers on long haul trains can keep going, having higher numbers of trains running at a time, spreading the infrastructure cost across more passengers, so the trains will have a cost advantage over planes.

      • by Ichijo (607641)

        One of the issues with the high speed rail I've seen them try to implement is too many stops...

        That's why the good Lord invented limited-stop express service, so that not every train needs to stop at every station, and electric trains that accelerate after a stop much more quickly than diesel trains.

        Then there's also the fact that a lot of "high speed" trains in the US are in the 40-60mph range...

        Top speed or average speed? See above.

        • Like I said, the implementations I've seen are poor because they don't do things like limited-stop express service more. And the advertised top speeds are usually 45, 50 or 60mph. I don't think I've seen any with an advertised top speed above 70mph.

        • Amtrak owns 730 miles of track, including nearly all of their routes in the Northeast

          Which "Lord" is that? UP?

    • If the high summer temps ever get around to climbing like the AGW folks claim, high speed rail will be pretty tough.

      You see, even with those highly-engineered rails, too much heat can cause expansion that warps the metal.

      Of course, we haven't seen an increase in such warming-caused warping.

      Odd, that.

      (No, it's not because the rails are so much better - HSR uses welded, continuous rail, which is more susceptible to that sort of thing)

      • If only the rails had small gaps in them to allow for thermal expansion [wikipedia.org]...it's too bad we don't have such Star Trek technology. Rails could even be installed in places that experience the massive temperature changes between winter and summer! Imagine that!

        • by cirby (2599)

          The problem is that those particular joints only work up to a point - at higher temperatures, they expand too far.

          With higher heating, you also get deformation in between the joints.

          The US has been using continuous-welded rails for decades now - yes, with various "breather" or "slip" fittings - and you still see warped and deformed rails each summer.

          Back in the heat wave of 2010, the German ICE system had to cancel some trips because heat warped the tracks...

          • by tbannist (230135)

            Of course, we haven't seen an increase in such warming-caused warping.

            Are you in a position to know if we did? I'm not and I'm doubt the people who are (railway operators) have a compelling reason to publish that data.

            Back in the heat wave of 2010, the German ICE system had to cancel some trips because heat warped the tracks...

            It seems like your first and second statements may not be based on the same set of facts.

            When I looked for information on whether there was an increase, I did find a blog post [ucsusa.org] about speeds being dropped near Washington in March of last year due to unseasonable weather related to an effect of global warming (the blocking pattern in the Arctic). It is an expecte [globalchange.gov]

    • by plover (150551)

      At those speeds, aerodynamics are important to the train, right? Can surface winds cause turbulence-like effects?

      • Not turbulence like on an aircraft, but it could cause the train to rock back and forth a bit. Trains do have the benefit of a suspension system.

        • by plover (150551)

          I'm just thinking of the examples of a truck or bus getting blown over on the interstate due to high cross winds. Sure, a train is far more massive than a truck or bus, but a bullet train is also traveling three times faster, meaning a small change could have a much bigger effect.

    • by khallow (566160)

      This is yet another reason to build high speed rail wherever it makes sense

      That's crazy. If we only build high speed rail lines where they made sense, we wouldn't have any.

      • by Ichijo (607641)

        Name one bullet train line anywhere in the world that's at least a few years old but still doesn't make a profit. Frequently, profit from the HSR line(s) help subsidize a country's passenger train lines as in Japan.

        • by khallow (566160)

          Name one bullet train line anywhere in the world that's at least a few years old but still doesn't make a profit.

          The Shinkansen trains in Japan which have operated for over three decades. Most of the construction cost was just eaten [wikipedia.org] by the Japanese government and eventually sold for about a third (ignoring inflation) of the original construction costs to a stable of private companies. Googling around, I still see public funds [mlit.go.jp] for development for these trains, meaning that they're being subsidized - as I see it, a sure sign that they aren't running a profit on their own.

          • by Ichijo (607641)

            You read the first sentence I wrote. Good! Now read the second.

            • by khallow (566160)
              I did and then I gave you the example you asked for. One doesn't get to rule it out because it is inconvenient, especially since there is no neat distinction between older and newer bullet trains in Japan.
              • by Ichijo (607641)

                When you stated that the construction cost was "eaten" by the Japanese government, you lumped in the cost of regular passenger rail, which as I said is frequently subsidized by high speed rail. JNR is both conventional and high speed rail. Follow your own link if you don't believe me.

        • by Rich0 (548339)

          Tend to agree - if we're REALLY talking about HSR.

          You need to get rid of all the stops though. I want a system where I catch a moderate-speed commuter train for 25 miles to the nearest city center, and then get on some 200mph train that makes 15 stops from Florida to Maine and covers the distance in 10 hours. Sure, you wouldn't actually ride it for the whole length (well, unless it were much cheaper than flying), but if you could go from Baltimore to Boston in 2.5 hours that would definitely sell (with st

    • at least 100 miles apart where it starts to become too far to drive

      Uh, what? 100 mi is nothing. I've driven that far each way for lunch. Combined with door-to-door service and no timetables to meet? The personal car is the acme of transportation for the foreseeable future (i.e., at least until we develop essentially free energy). The self-driving personal car will only magnify this effect.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        100 mi is nothing. I've driven that far each way for lunch.

        Congratulations, you are officially part of the problem. I hope that there was at least a nooner included.

  • I, for one, quite enjoy the mid-range turbulence. It helps me sleep better on the plane. By mid-range I mean stuff that's strong enough to move things around on your table, yet not strong enough to accelerate the decline in airframe's fatigue life by a factor of 10. Assuming that a normal non-turbulence flight is affecting the fatigue life at "realtime" rate (no speedup), a flight with turbulence I find unacceptable would be equivalent, in terms of fatigue life use, to 10 normal flights of same duration. So

  • Question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @12:36PM (#43402765) Journal

    How do researchers know what turbulence was like in the pre-industrial era? Unless Ancient Astronomers took the readings and handed them down to us in carved stone tablets, we are merely GUESSING what the turbulence was like.

    • How do researchers know what turbulence was like in the pre-industrial era? Unless Ancient Astronomers took the readings and handed them down to us in carved stone tablets, we are merely GUESSING what the turbulence was like.

      Due to the passing of the ice age, I imagine the air was lighter than it is today. Oh, but there was also more pressure equalization due to temperature variations between night and day, so I guess it's turbulent in some areas and not in others, weather systems included. Oh, wait.. that's the same as it is today. /snark ;)

  • Let's see:

    1. Turbulence increase, making air travel uncomfortable

    2. Rice fields drying up worldwide, resulting in mass starvation and war for resources, with prime overpopulated countries having access to nuclear arms.

    Not sure which one worries me more... nuclear holocaust vs coffee spilled on my crotch... Nah let our children figure out the mess, load up those coal power plants!

  • FUD, much? (Score:2, Informative)

    by argStyopa (232550)

    Climate change will ruin the crops.
    Climate change will ruin crabs.
    Climate change will kill all the coral.
    Climate change will benefit or kill insects (whether they're considered pests or beneficial in that particular article, respectively).
    Climate change will cause areas to get wetter (if that would be bad).
    Climate change will cause other areas to desertify (if that would be bad).
    Climate change will make some places warmer (if that would be bad) or colder (if that would be bad).
    Climate change will cause (wh

    • Climate change will increase the number of volcanoes and earthquakes.

      This one seemed a little too outrageous, so I looked it up. Sure enough, there's a book about it [oup.com], published by Oxford University press. Written by a professor of Geophysical and Climate Hazards. I'm not sure what that kind of professor does.

      Here's a summary he wrote of his book [guardian.co.uk], if anyone wants to read it and figure out the connection. I sure can't figure it out.

    • by Type44Q (1233630)

      Climate change will ruin crabs.

      Apparently, the following treatment is highly effective in such situations:

      Shave one testicle. Now light the other one on fire.

      All of the crabs will (of course) retreat to the shaved testicle; simply stab each one to death with an icepick as they appear...

  • Our sodas are going to get more bubbly all because of Climate Change. You see, there will be more CO2 in the air. And therefore less CO2 can be absorbed by the air. And therefore less CO2 will be released into the air by our carbonated beverage. Thus resulting in a measurable, but imperceptible, amount of increased carbonation 30 minutes after a soda can has been opened.

    Also, pigeons are going to fart louder because of global warming. (More dense air.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @02:07PM (#43403955)

    About page 280 he discusses the problem of modeling the future, given huge computer power.

    There are 2 choices of models : either one models the physical reality in careful detail or one has averaging functions. Detailed models necessarily have chaos built in, in which case the results vary wildly and the modeler has to apply averaging or a selection function.

    The choice of averaging or selection functions, in both approaches to modeling, determines the actual real-world usefulness of the models. There is no a priori way of knowing what averaging functions are useful.

    It seems to me there is little discussion of the effects of different averaging functions in climate model, and not enough history to know which will be useful.

    In any case, it is easy to build models, and very difficult to know their relationship to external reality.

  • At one time there will not be any oil left, therefore air travel will vanish, and the problem will only happen for birds and zepplins.
  • by xenobyte (446878) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @02:44AM (#43409673)

    Bring back airships! - Perhaps equipped with jet engines... They are not susceptible to air turbulence as far as I know.

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