Quantifying the Disruptive Impact of Convective Weather Activity on Air Traffic Flows Through UK Airspace Under Current and Future Climate Scenarios.



Quantifying the Disruptive Impact of Convective Weather Activity on Air Traffic Flows Through UK Airspace Under Current and Future Climate Scenarios.

Authors

L Budd, M Kirchhoefer, Loughborough University, UK

Description

Paper enhances contemporary understandings of the impacts of climate change on commercial aviation by quantifying current and possible future effects of changes in the frequency and severity of convective weather activity on air traffic flows.

Abstract

This paper reports on the findings of an exploratory EPSRC-funded research project that seeks to enhance contemporary understandings of the impacts of climate change on commercial aviation by quantifying current and possible future effects of changes in the frequency and severity of convective weather activity on air traffic flows. Although the relationship between aircraft emissions and climate change, while remaining controversial, has been the subject of intense and systematic investigation, far less is known about the impact future climate change may have on the aviation industry, despite growing awareness from within academia and the aviation sector that climate change is likely to present a number of significant challenges to current operating practices. Although the precise nature and the timing of future climate impacts is uncertain, recent research has suggested that the aviation industry may be affected by rising sea levels, which may lead to airport inundation, changing surface temperatures and local climatic conditions which may alter patterns of consumer demand, affect aircraft performance, and disturb normal airport operations, and more frequent and intense thunderstorms and convective weather activity which will disrupt air traffic flows and lead to delays and increased costs. The paper makes both a methodological and an empirical contribution to air transport research. The techniques and the utility of the new methodological approach, which uses a consumer flight radar receiver and software to capture and visualise air traffic flows through a sector of UK airspace during both normal and convective weather days, is discussed. The difference between the two are then spatially analysed and the impact of current and future levels of convective activity, in terms of increased track distance, flight duration, and fuel burn is quantified.

Publisher

Association for European Transport