Breakdown: Why airplane turbulence is on the rise

Airplane Picture
Airplane Picture
Updated: Dec. 12, 2018 at 9:31 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - When flying high in the sky, sometimes the plane will shake. This shaking is caused by turbulence. While this might make some uneasy, there is nothing to worry about as modern airplanes are designed to withstand all types of turbulence.

Turbulence is a sudden change in airflow and can be caused by several factors. The most common cause of turbulence is due to turbulent air in Earth’s atmosphere. The jet streams around Earth can cause sudden changes in the wind speed that can rock airplanes.

Thermal turbulence can occur; this is created by hot rising air from cumulus clouds or thunderstorms.

Mechanical turbulence is caused by our landscape, mountains or tall buildings. Those objects can distort the wind flow in the sky above the objects.

Other airplanes can also cause turbulence. Airplane’s wings can cause wake turbulence as they pass through the air. This can affect planes flying behind one another and is also why planes avoid taking the same flight path during take offs and landings.

Both pilots and those working in air traffic control work to avoid turbulence, but when turbulence does occur while flying, the risk is very low.

Modern air crafts are designed to withstand sudden rise and falls nearly 100 feet at a time, this advancement in technology means that turbulence has not caused a plane crash in over 40 years.

If you have noticed more turbulence during flights over the past decade, you are right. According to researchers, since 1958 turbulence rose about 40 to 90 percent over Europe and North America.

Studies suggests that global warming could cause turbulence to become worse by the year 2050.

As for those flying now, the best seats during turbulence are over the wing, as they are more stable during turbulence.

Just remember to buckle up and follow pilots instructions if turbulence on a flight is expected.

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