0 min left

Small Changes to Air Routes Could Have a Big Impact on Climate Change

A study by a team of scientists at the University of Reading indicates that tiny tweaks to flight paths could have a considerable impact on climate change.

Climate change looms large as a concern in the global aviation industry, but scientists at the University of Reading have discovered that small route adjustments could hold the key to reducing the impact that aircraft have on the Earth’s environment.

A study by Professor Keith Shine and his colleagues indicates that small changes to flight paths could lessen the effect that planes have on climate change by as much as ten percent. In the abstract of the team’s study, they explain that “Current air traffic routing is motivated by minimizing economic costs, such as fuel use.”

However, the findings indicate that, if they want to have an impact, carriers need to be willing to take a slight hit on their profits. This means moving from the most cost-effective routes to avoiding flying in areas where greenhouse gas emissions have a considerable effect on climate. The change in flight planning would see airlines increase their operating costs by approximately one percent.

In order to achieve this insight, Shine and his team produced models of flight paths for 800 trans-Atlantic flights, running them under conventional summer and winter weather conditions. Using this data, the team examined 85 different flight paths to ascertain which were the most environmentally friendly in terms of emissions.

The results of this study have been published in Environment Research Letters and shows that certain routes have more of an impact on emissions than others.

Speaking of the findings to the Guardian, Shine, a professor of meteorology and climate science, said “Climate-friendly routing of aircraft has an exciting potential to decrease the climate impact of aviation, without the need for costly redesign of aircraft, their engines and airports. With more targeted research, it could become a reality in the next 10 years.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
Sydneyberlin March 29, 2017

Well, given that the madman in the US has just decided to just don't give a s#$& about our planet's future anymore, it's very unlikely that any airline will be willing to take a profit cut for this very cause.

SFO777 March 27, 2017

Seriously? Do you feel better after writing another dopey fake news story about the hoax aka man-made climate change?

dogcanyon March 27, 2017

According to the Air Transport Action Group, the worldwide aviation industry produces about 2% of all CO2 emissions caused by humans. Even if this strategy reduces those by the promised 10% I would hardly call a reduction of 2/10 of a percent a "big impact on climate change". http://www.atag.org/facts-and-figures.html