AVIATION

A bump in the high road

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Science  27 Oct 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6362, pp. 494-495
DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6362.494-f

Clear-air turbulence will become more common and more intense as the climate warms.

PHOTO: ISTOCK.COM/XJBEN

Clear-air turbulence (CAT), which is invisible to the naked eye and undetectable by sensors onboard aircraft, can cause discomfort or injuries to passengers and often forces planes to alter their flight paths to avoid it. Storer et al. use a global climate model to project how climate warming is expected to influence CAT. They find large relative increases in CAT, particularly in the midlatitudes, with some regions experiencing several times more turbulence during the period from 2050 to 2080 than now. Within that interval, severe CAT becomes as common as moderate CAT has been historically, and the strongest turbulence increases the most.

Geophys. Res. Lett. 10.1002/2017GL074618 (2017).

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