From: The Earth Institute - Columbia University
Published July 13, 2017 08:46 AM

Surging Heat May Limit Aircraft Takeoffs Globally

Rising temperatures due to global warming will make it harder for many aircraft around the world to take off in coming decades, says a new study. During the hottest parts of the day, 10 to 30 percent of fully loaded planes may have to remove some fuel, cargo or passengers, or else wait for cooler hours to fly, the study concludes. The study, which is the first such global analysis, appears today in the journal Climatic Change.

“Our results suggest that weight restriction may impose a non-trivial cost on airline and impact aviation operations around the world,” said lead author Ethan Coffel, a Columbia University PhD. student.

As air warms, it spreads out, and its density declines. In thinner air, wings generate less lift as a plane races along a runway. Thus, depending on aircraft model, runway length and other factors, at some point a packed plane may be unable to take off safely if the temperature gets too high. Weight must be dumped, or else the flight delayed or canceled.

Read more at The Earth Institute - Columbia University

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