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Decreased takeoff performance of aircraft due to climate change

Zhou, Yuntao, Zhang, Nan, Li, Chao, Liu, Yong, Huang, Ping
Climatic change 2018 v.151 no.3-4 pp. 463-472
aircraft, airports, altitude, aviation, climate change, summer, temperature
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.