Air travel seems to get increasingly unpleasant as time goes by. Tighter security, more passengers, fewer amenities, and additional fees all add up to an often unfriendly experience in the skies (not to mention being forcefully dragged off an overbooked plane). Now, a new study in the journal Climatic Change posits that climate change is going to make this whole endeavor even worse by making it harder for planes to get off the ground.
You may recall earlier this summer when a 120-degree heatwave in the Southwest forced American Airlines to cancel more than 40 regional flights due to dangerous takeoff temperatures. This led to a number of passenger delays and a lot of internet explainersand hand-wringing.
While the heatwave approached record-breaking levels, in the future this type of heat will be more common, and thus more disruptive.
The first global analysis of this impact, the study found that in coming decades during the hottest parts of the day between 10 and 30 percent of fully loaded planes may have to remove fuel, cargo, or passengers — or else wait for cooler hours to fly. Overall, the authors estimate that if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, payload …