Research press release


Nature Climate Change

Climate cost of the wind beneath our wings

米国のホノルルと西海岸を結ぶわずか3つの飛行経路だけを見ても、北太平洋上の風のパターンが変化すれば、燃料費が年間140万米ドル(約1億6800万円)増え、CO2排出量が年間460万kg増えることを報告するKristopher Karnauskasたちの研究論文が、今週のオンライン版に掲載される。Karnauskasたちは、この460万kgという数値を全世界の民間航空業界に当てはめると、人間の活動による全世界のCO2排出量が0.03%増加する可能性があるという見解を明らかにしている。




For just three flight paths between Honolulu and the west coast of the USA, changes in wind patterns over the North Pacific could cost an extra US$1.4 million in fuel and result in an additional 4.6 million kg of CO2 emissions per year, reports a paper published online in Nature Climate Change. The authors suggest that if these figures are extrapolated to the global commercial airline industry, annual CO2 emissions could rise by 0.03% of all global CO2 emissions caused by human activities.

Kristopher Karnauskas and colleagues analysed the difference in flight time for roughly 250,000 flights between Honolulu and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle?Tacoma, and compared them with observed daily winds at cruising altitude, to identify the influence of the wind patterns.

They then calculated the response of these winds to greenhouse-gas-induced climate forcing using 34 global climate models. Half of the models predict the extension of the jet exit region into the corridor between Hawaii and the continental US. The researchers calculated that such a change would result in approximately 5.5 additional flying hours per daily round-trip, per carrier, per comparable route; or, extrapolated for four airlines and the probable number of trips, an annual cost of US$1.4 million on fuel and 4.6 million kg of CO2.

The authors also conclude that these changes in circulation have the potential to increase the rate of consumption of fossil fuels by the airline industry (initially by up to a few per cent), feeding back into global climate forcing and resulting in subsequent changes in circulation, and suggest further investigation of the dynamics involved.

doi: 10.1038/nclimate2715

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