New research has found planes are finding it harder to take off – and this is largely thanks to climate change. Many airports and their runways were built and designed with the prevailing winds at the time in mind.

However, over the past 50 years, the climate has changed drastically, with the warmer temperatures reducing air density, making it harder for planes to get lift-off.

Once the planes are in the sky, they are also finding it more difficult to battle the ever changing jet streams, which leads to more turbulence.

British scientists have looked at climate data from Greek airports from over 50 years to examine how global warming is affecting aeroplanes.

Temperatures in the varying airports rose between 2C and 5C in that time, and the researchers found this led to longer take off times on the runway.

To counter the longer runway needed for takeoff thanks for climate change, some of the planes had to reduce the amount of passengers they could take to reduce weight.

Fewer passengers on board planes will undoubtedly lead to more expensive tickets and more hassle for travellers.

Researchers Guy Cratton, an associate professor of aviation and environment at Cranfield University, and Paul Williams, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Reading, explained their new research in a piece for The Conversation.

They wrote: “Research has predicted that take-off distances will get longer as the climate warms. This is because higher temperatures reduce air density, which the wings and engines need to get airborne.

“With reduced headwinds, aeroplanes also need to generate more groundspeed just to get into the air.

“Once they’re up there, they’re subject to in-flight turbulence, which is getting worse due to climate change increasing the energy in jet stream winds.

“In airports with shorter runways, aircraft have to reduce weight. This is all worked out before take-off – cargo, passenger numbers and fuel loads are adjusted accordingly.

“In the most extreme case we studied this meant that planes were taking off with one passenger fewer (or about 40 kilometres worth of fuel less) each year.

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“These aeroplanes are climbing less steeply after take-off, creating more pollution and noise nuisance on the ground.

“This could mean that airlines must reduce the numbers of passengers they carry on flights, or search for ways to lengthen their runways.

“In some extreme cases, it could become impossible for some aeroplanes to use some airports altogether.

“This is another reminder of how rapidly and extensively human actions are transforming the world around us, and how ill equipped we are to deal with the consequences.”

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