Climate change is impacting airports and air travel

Another impact of climate change–“a quarter of the world’s 100 busiest airports are less than 10 meters/32 feet above sea level.”  “12 of those airports–including hubs in Shanghai, Rome, San Francisco, and New York–are less than 5 meters above sea level.”

This makes these airports–and significant amounts of world air traffic–especially vulnerable to rising sea levels and extreme weather.

The Kansai International Airport, built on an artificial island near Osaka, Japan, was inundated by sea water amid the typhoon that hit Japan the first week of September (2018).  The airport and runways were damaged, planes were grounded, and passengers were stranded at the airport for 30+ hours.  Hurricane Sandy flooded all 3 New York City airports in 2012 impacting air travel for days.  Devastating floods in Kerala, India closed Cochin Airport for 2 weeks in August 2018.  And, there are many other examples.

“Air travel accounts for about 3 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide,” but that is expected to triple by 2050.  Climate change is also impacting air travel in other ways–“extreme heat can ground planes because hotter, thinner air makes achieving lift difficult; a changing climate can also increase turbulence.”

Read the article (Hiroko Tabuchi, New York Times, September 7, 2018).

For more information about the impacts of climate change, search the Science Primary Literature Database and the Headline Science Database.

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