Claim:  Turbulence is Getting Worse due to Climate Change

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From Watts Up With That?

Robert L. Vislocky, Ph.D.

From the camp of “let’s scare airline travelers without checking the data first” are a number of news reports that hit the press about a month ago claiming that climate change is making aircraft turbulence worse. Below is one such article from NPR, but many more can be found at the usual climate crisis web sites (CNN, Washington Post, Newsweek, etc..):

Of course the news articles are laced with anecdotal observations and the usual reference to a climate model study featuring predictions 60 years into the future. What is odd, however, is that none of the news reports contained any actual turbulence data to see if this is actually becoming a problem in a warming world.

The graph below is from a 2021 National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) safety research report on preventing turbulence-related injuries in air carrier operations. It indicates the total number of accidents (light blue) and the number of accidents due to turbulence (dark blue) per 100,000 flight hours over the past 30 years. Accidents are defined as an incident where at least one passenger suffers a serious injury or the aircraft receives substantial damage. The NTSB concluded “there was no obvious trend in turbulence-related accidents during this period.” Once again, the real data is counter to the scare reports from the climate change community.