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Climate change not a hoax...

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Reem Antoon


For those who seem to think climate change is a hoax, or a ‘scam invented by the Chinese,’ perhaps they need to ask themselves why then a third of airplanes worldwide could be grounded in decades to come because of the rising temperatures and more frequent heat waves?

Airlines could be forced to cut their loads of passengers, cargo or fuel to take off safely, Reuters recently reported, quoting a study published in the journal Climate Change.

So apparently more frequent heat waves and rising temperatures because of climate change could ground up to a third of airplanes worldwide during hot days with some airports in New York and Dubai likely to be hard hit.

A runway might not be long enough to allow a plane to achieve the necessary extra speed for a safe take-off. That means weight must be dumped, or the flight is delayed or cancelled.

Worldwide, average temperatures are expected to climb about three degree Celsius by 2100, say researchers.

But, they say, it is more prevalent heat waves that pose a larger threat to the airline industry.

Annual maximum daily temperatures at airports could rise by four to eight degree Celsius by 2080, they found, leading to more costly delays in take-offs or cancellations.

During the hottest parts of the day, between 10pc and 30pc of fully loaded planes might have to dump weight to begin their journey.

A full 160-seat aircraft trying to safely take off in searing heat might, for instance, need to remove 13 passengers.

Last month, airlines were forced to delay or cancel dozens of flights out of Las Vegas and Phoenix airports, in the US, citing difficulty in operating aircraft amid a heat wave.

I actually did not know that it is sometimes more difficult to get airplanes off the ground in extremely hot weather. 

But it seems the problem is not the temperature itself or the humidity, but the air density that can get in the way.

Hotter air gets thinner. Thin air makes it more difficult for planes to lift and land safely. 

This is especially the case with smaller planes.

At Dubai International Airport and other Gulf airports many flights arrive late at night and early in the morning when it is cooler. 

Gulf airlines also often use larger planes that are not as affected by high heat.






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