Aircraft flying in over water.
10 Aug 2015

Global Warming Increasing Flight Duration?

One of the most interesting and controversial topics in science and culture is that of global warming. Global warming is responsible for the rising of the sea and melting all of the glaciers, as well as other things. Recently, scientists have discovered yet another complication that this warm weather is creating.

According to a recent Yahoo article, global warming is lengthening the amount of time it takes to travel by plane over the giant ocean of the Pacific.

This is based off of 18 years of information that was taken on all of the flights from places such as San Francisco and Seattle. It crossed all four of the major airlines. The research is sound and was published in the journal of Nature Climate Change.

The piece states that when the jet fuel gets burned it releases carbon dioxide and causes the air around it to get a little warmer. When the air around the jet begins to warm up, it makes the head winds accumulate. Tail winds have a similar thing happen to them, but it’s not enough to change the result of the head wind accumulation.

You’d probably think that adding a few minutes on to the flight duration wouldn’t really mean anything besides a bit of annoyance, but you’d be incorrect. In fact, this little problem will keep getting bigger and has a growing impact on pollution, time and money.

In short, when it takes longer to get from one place to another by plane, more jet fuel gets consumed. When more jet fuel gets consumed, more of it gets burned. When more jet fuel gets burned, more CO2 is released. That’s right, we’re talking a vicious cycle that can continually increase flight times and further pollute the planet.

Read the full article here.