Here's How Climate Change May Delay Flights And Make Them Longer

A new study shows that transatlantic flights may spend more time in the air.

Flying from London to New York City takes about seven and a half hours -- for now. As climate change causes the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to increase, the time it takes to make that flight could go up as well, according to a new study.

If the amount of CO2 doubles, the likelihood of a trip from the U.K. to the U.S. taking more than seven hours will go from 8.6 percent to 15.3 percent, according to research published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Aircraft crossing the Atlantic Ocean could be in the air an extra 2,000 hours each year because of climate change, Dr. Paul Williams, atmospheric scientist at the University of Reading in England who led the study, says in a new video (above) that describes the research.

"The atmospheric winds and temperatures up there are very strongly tied together, and therefore the winds are changing in response to the temperature changes," he says. "Our new study finds that the jet stream winds along the flight route between London and New York are getting stronger because of climate change."

While the stronger winds would lengthen East Coast-bound flights, they would make flights from New York to London slightly quicker -- meaning each round-trip transatlantic flight would be about a minute and 18 seconds longer than it is now, NBC News reported.

But there are so many transatlantic flights each year that these climate change effects could increase fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and even ticket prices, the research suggests.

"We just looked at transatlantic flights, but if other flight routes around the world that's affected by the jet stream are also impacted by these effects, then this could just be the tip of the iceberg," Williams says in the video.

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