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Published on Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Get ready for a bumpy ride

Transatlantic flights could become less comfortable and more expensive if the climate changes as scientists expect, leading to more turbulence.

Research suggests that the zone in the North Atlantic affected by turbulence could double by 2050 and turbulence will be up to 40% stronger than it is now.

A study, published in Nature Climate Change, said this would mean passengers were bounced around more frequently.

Airlines can sometimes fly around turbulence, but this increases fuel burn, which ultimately pushes up ticket prices.

The research, led by scientists at Reading University, was presented this week in Vienna at the European Union Geosciences General Assembly.

The scientists concentrated their investigation on the North Atlantic corridor, which is crossed by 600 flights a day.

They used a supercomputer to simulate likely changes to air currents above 10km in altitude, such as the fast-moving jet stream, said the BBC.

There is evidence to suggest this has been blowing more strongly, and under some scenarios could be prone to more of the instabilities associated with turbulence as the Earth's climate warms.


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