Shaking Things Up

Shaking Things Up

by Nadia Ramoutar  MMM Communications Coordinator                         Ireland                               04.06.2024

Turbulent Skies Reflect Climate Change in new ways

For many of us who care deeply about ecology and the impending challenges caused by humans in regards to climate change can feel like rearranging the furniture on the Titanic. It is frustrating that so many people in the world are refusing to believe that it is true despite infinite amounts of evidence.

Last week however something happened that shocked the world of the wealthy. A person died on an airplane due to turbulence and several others were severely injured. Apparently this is very rare on a commercial airline but private planes have been majorly impacted by this new variation of deadly turbulence but we hear very little about it.

According to a recent article in the Irish Times ‘This phenomenon is caused by the meeting of air at different temperatures, pressure or velocity, where different wind patterns collide – not unlike boats suddenly encountering choppy waters.’

This article along with many others globally identified that the climate change is contribution to the new impact of not only more turbulence on airplanes but that it lasts longer and is actually rougher than before. The airline industry is unable to keep up with this apparently and needs to modify to prepare for it.

According to the article there is ‘evidence that turbulence is worsening with climate change, as CO² emissions affect air currents. Weather patterns are more disturbed with a warmer atmosphere.’ Paul Williams, a professor and scientist at Reading University have concluded that higher temperatures were increasing levels of turbulence encountered on transatlantic flights. By how much? Interestingly the incidents of severe turbulence increased by 55 per cent between 1979 and 2020.

For so long now some of the worst impacts of the climate change or climate crisis have impacted poor people and unfairly the very people who did not cause the negative impacts as they have very low carbon footprints.

Sadly, it may take things like travel for work or for pleasure being disrupted to really get some people’s attention. We are running out of road to speak in trying to get people who have the power, influence and money to listen to the pleading of people who care. It has been a discouraging and upsetting experience to see our earth continue to suffer and people in the West and Global North not care enough to do more.

As we look at this new development in aviation, is this what it will take to shake things up for people in power? When they are inconvenienced will the reality of the climate crisis actually sink in? Thankfully there are people like Prof Paul Williams at University of Reading who are making these findings public showing we are not imagining this. This climate crisis is real and the longer we wait, the worse it will get. It’s time to elevate our efforts.