Mid-flight drama: thunderstorms, climate change… why is there more and more turbulence on planes ?

On Tuesday May 21, 2024, a man died and dozens of passengers were injured during a flight from London to Singapore. The cause was an episode of turbulence which led to intense shaking for several minutes. Why is this phenomenon becoming more and more common ?

The toll is heavy. A passenger on the London-Singapore flight has lost his life and dozens of others are seriously injured, or at least in shock.

Yesterday, their plane experienced intense turbulence while flying over Asia. In the space of five minutes, the aircraft fell 1,800 meters. He had to make an emergency landing in Bangkok, Thailand.

Fatal Turbulences

"The airport received a distress call from the plane of the Singapore Airlines flight indicating that there were passengers on board injured by turbulence and requesting an emergency landing", Suvarnabhumi Airport said in a press release.

In recent years, turbulence has increased the most over the North Atlantic, note Futura Sciences. It is in fact in this area that the polar jet stream circulates. But the phenomenon is also observed in the east of Asia and in the west of the Pacific Ocean.

Mid-flight drama: thunderstorms, climate change… why is there more and more turbulence on planes ?

Turbulence increases from year to year. Geophysical research letters.

Climate disruption in question

Scientists explain that climate change is likely to cause more turbulence, invisible to radar, explains AFP.

Indeed, pose Futura Sciences, the global rise in temperatures triggers more d’ instabilities in the upper atmosphere. An increase in the phenomenon has been noted over the last 40 years, and the trend is expected to continue.

Because the higher the temperatures, the more the "wind shear" is important. To understand, the fact that wind currents cross at altitude. These phenomena are often caused by thunderstorms. However, characterized by their instability, these bad weather conditions are difficult to predict with the accuracy required to plot an air route.

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