Why flights are going to have more turbulence than ever

MOST passengers have experienced turbulence at least once while they've been on a flight.

And while no one really enjoys it, we're going to have to buckle up as it is likely flights are going to have more turbulence than ever.

Turbulence is, in essence, a change in the air that can rock a plane, and it is usually harmless.

Pilots try to avoid turbulence by flying in the lower troposphere – the layer of atmosphere closest to Earth.

But the climate crisis is causing changes in the earth's atmosphere which is having an impact on that.

New research published in Science Advances discovered that as the planet heats up, the atmosphere closest to Earth has been rising.

That means that pilots will need to fly higher to avoid turbulence and it is likely that passengers will have a much bumpier ride in the future.

'Invisible turbulence' caused by wind shear – which is when the wind speed changes suddenly, at a right angle to the current direction of the wind – is also set to increase in the coming decades as the Earth heats up.

This exerts a turning force on a plane, creating turbulence.

This 'invisible turbulence' can be quite severe and scare nervous flyers.

Research from the University of Reading suggests it will be three times more common by 2050 to 2080.

Right now, climate change is causing the difference in temperature between Earth's poles and the equator to shrink.

But the new research suggests that the opposite is happening at around 34,000 feet – the typical cruising altitude for a plane.

The jet stream – a fast-flowing air current used by pilots to save fuel – is driven by these temperature differences.

And the strengthening of these temperature differences is "causing an increase in turbulence-driving wind shear", experts warn.

So if you're scared of flying, you might be in for a bumpier ride in the future.

A former flight attendant has revealed the worst spot for turbulence on a flight from the UK to the US.

And Sun Online Travel has mapped the areas where you're most likely to experience turbulence, so you can book flights that avoid it.

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