The Impacts of Climate Change on Aviation

Although localized patterns, such as a cooling of the lower stratosphere and a rising of the tropopause, are uneven, climate change is raising global-mean tropospheric temperatures (Gratton, et al., 2022). The effect of aviation on climate change has undoubtedly received a lot of analysis and media attention. Less space has devote in columns to the effects of climate change on aviation.

Changes in temperature, precipitation (rain and snow), storm patterns, sea level, and wind patterns are the primary effects of climate change on aviation that are anticipated. In addition, it is anticipated that climate change exacerbate droughts, affect the available of water and energy, and alter wildlife patterns and biodiversity. Reduced aircraft performance, shifting demand patterns, potential infrastructure damage, loss of capacity, and schedule disruption are all effects on aviation.

In a late 2018 study conduct by EUROCONTROL, a sizable majority of participants from the European aviation industry (86%) believe that steps to lessen the effects of climate change on aviation may require now or in the future. However, over half (48%) have not started making plans for how to adapt to the effects of climate change.

Participants in the aviation industry should take action to prepare for the effects of climate change because there are compelling operational, commercial, and legal justifications. A climate change risk assessment needs to be among the top goals for aviation sector participants as 2019 gets start.

Infrastructure, aircraft performance, and demand patterns are all impacted by temperature change.

Climate change in Europe is progressing more quickly than it does globally. Under a high emissions scenario, it has anticipate that some regions of the continent could experience temperature increases of 4C–5C by the end of the century, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC.

Most of Europe should experience a minimum temperature increase of 2C even under the IPCC’s medium emissions scenario. In the summer and winter, northern and eastern Europe, as well as Scandinavia, are predict to experience the greatest warming.

Climate change is causing an increase in the range of extreme temperatures in addition to an increase in the average temperature

Increased temperatures affect how well an aircraft performs, for example by reducing lift, and this has an impact on how long a runway must be. The range and cargo of the aircraft also impact.

Additional effects of temperature change on infrastructure include increased heating and cooling needs as well as runway and taxiway heat damage.  Demand patterns are likely to vary as a result of temperature changes, both seasonally and geographically.

Weather trends that have changed could result in further delays and cancellations.

The south of Europe is predicte to have less rain than the north, which is predicte to have more. Although snowfall expect to reduce overall, there more heavy precipitation of both rain and snow.

Flight delays and cancellations will result from these altered precipitation patterns. Additionally, there may be more instances of surface access and airport flooding. If there are fewer incidents, modifications to the snow clearance and de-icing standards may be advantageous; however, if the occurrences are more severe, this may not be the case.

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More powerful storms anticipate, which will cause more inconvenience.

There is a lot of uncertainty in the modelling of storms, just as there is with everything linked to climate change, perhaps even more so.

However, it is anticipated that there frequent powerful storms, especially in the autumn and winter on the North Atlantic and in northern and central Europe. Although there may be fewer tropical-like cyclones in the Mediterranean, their severity may rise.

This will result in flight disruptions, capacity reductions, cancellations, flight rerouting, increased fuel consumption, infrastructure damage, and an increase in lightning strikes (with possible consequences for aircraft maintenance needs and costs).

Sea level rise might restrict airport capacity and disrupt networks.

Over the longer run, sea levels are expect to rise in much of Europe as a result of climate change, roughly in line with the global average.

According to the IPCC’s medium to low emissions scenario, the sea level is expected to rise by more than 0.4 metres in several regions of Europe by the end of this century, even though in the northern Baltic region, the land is rising and sea level rise is reversing.

The European Union Joint Research Centre estimates that 96 European airports would be at risk of flooding by a rise of just 1 metre. In addition, major storm occurrences might cause sea level rises, albeit there are regional variations and a lot of room for ambiguity in this area.

The capacity of airports may be lost, either permanently or temporarily, as a result of rising sea levels, which would disrupt the network. Airport surface transportation connections may also be impacted.

Costs will go up if these effects are avoid, for example through improved marine defences, moving airports, and building secondary airports. Although there is more time to plan for the required changes due to the predicted longer durations for increasing sea levels.

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Actions must take by the aviation sector to prepare for climate change.

Participants will undoubtedly need to improve the sharing of such data with other organisations as well as train staff on how to interpret meteorological data and respond to interruptions. Increased usage of onboard weather detection technologies will be part of this.

The industry must adjust schedules both seasonally. To deal with shifts in demand) and daily. For example to ensure that larger aircraft can depart at cooler times). Designing an airport terminal must take into account cooling. And heating needs, as well as surface material requirements for the runway and apron.

In all areas where climate change may negatively impact aviation, additional research is need in addition to the immediate actions that can take. This is especially true for emerging technology that can detect clear air turbulence and shifting wind patterns.

There are still many unknowns surrounding the specifics of how climate change will affect aviation. The world’s climate is changing, it is widely acknowledge, and this will surely present considerable issues for the whole aviation sector.

Although more might done, the industry has a plan to lessen its influence on climate change. However, it is currently taking a less concerted effort to lessen how climate change would affect aviation.

All industry actors, including airports, air navigation service providers, aircraft manufacturers, and regulators, will need to get involve and work together to find solutions.


BAW (2022). Assignments are a useful tool for assessing students’ abilities at all academic levels.

Gratton, G., Williams, P., Padhra, A., & Rapsomanikis, S. (2022). Reviewing the impacts of climate change on air transport operations. The Aeronautical Journal, 126(1295), 209-221. doi:10.1017/aer.2021.109

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