Decreased takeoff performance of aircraft due to climate change
Climate change will likely affect aviation; however, it is not well understood. In particular, the effects of climate change on aircraft’s takeoff performance have seldom been studied. Here, we explore the effects of climate change on the takeoff performance of aircraft, including takeoff distance and climb rate. Takeoff performance normally decreases as temperature and pressure altitude increase. Our study confirms an increasing trend of temperature at 30 major international airports. However, the trend of pressure altitude is shown to be either positive or negative at these airports. Such changes of temperature and pressure altitude lead to longer takeoff distance and lower climb rate in the following century. The average takeoff distance in summer will increase by 0.95–6.5% and 1.6–11% from the historical period (1976–2005) to the mid-century (2021–2050) and from the mid- to late-century (2071–2100). The climb rate in summer will decrease by 0.68–3.4% and 1.3–5.2% from the history to the mid-century and from the mid- to late-century, respectively. Taking Boeing 737-800 aircraft as an example, our results show that it will require additional 3.5–168.7 m takeoff distance in future summers, with variations among different airports.
The authors acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Coupled Modeling, which is responsible for CMIP, and we thank the climate modeling groups for producing and making their model data sets available. We also thank the US NCDC for monitoring climate data and making them available.
Funding for this research was provided through the National Natural Science Foundation of China (no: 11701485) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of Xiamen University (no: 20720150073).
- Anderson J (2011) Introduction to flight. McGraw-HillGoogle Scholar
- Boeing (2013). 737 airplane characteristics for airport planning, Boeing Aircraft Company 554Google Scholar
- Brice T and HallT Pressure AltitudeGoogle Scholar
- Graham RF (2017). Too hot to fly: record setting heatwave to crush Las Vegas and Phoenix with temperatures reaching 120F as flights are grounded and people are warned of major health issues, DailyMallGoogle Scholar
- Haarsma RJ, Selten FM, Drijfhout SS (2015) Decelerating Atlantic meridional overturning circulation main cause of future west European summer atmospheric circulation changes. Environ Res Lett 10(9)Google Scholar
- Pignataro JR (2017). Arizona’s extreme heat causes airlines to cancel flights, IBTGoogle Scholar
- Moore RH, Shook MA, Ziemba LD, DiGangi JP, Winstead EL, Rauch B, Jurkat T, Thornhill KL, Crosbie EC, Robinson C, Shingler TJ, and Anderson BE (2017). "Take-off engine particle emission indices for in-service aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport." Scientific DataGoogle Scholar
- Team FAAS (2008). Density altitude. Federal Aviation Administration Pilot Education Pamphlet Federal Aviation AdministrationGoogle Scholar
- Thompson TR (2016) Aviation and the impacts of climate change climate change impacts upon the commercial air transport industry: an overview. Carbon Clim Law Rev 10(2):105–112Google Scholar
- Williams PD (2016). "Transatlantic flight times and climate change." Environ Res Lett 11(2)Google Scholar