Eurocontrol Study Calls For Action To Mitigate Impact Of Climate Change


Released on the heels of last week’s extreme weather in the U.S., a recent study completed for Eurocontrol warns of “significant and increasing risks to aviation” from climate change in the coming years. Conducted by the multinational Egis Group and the U.K. Met Office, the study was released on Monday (Sept. 6) and cites evidence of impending increases in intensity of storms and rising ocean levels as among the greatest challenges facing air traffic between now and 2050. You can download the report from this page on the Eurocontrol website.

The report assessed the economic impact to aviation of major storms in 2019 at $2.6 billion for en route delays, warning: “Extreme weather is predicted to drive these numbers up, with horizontal flight inefficiency on days when storms account for over 50 percent of air traffic flow management delays expected to worsen by 0.5 percent by 2050.”

Eurocontrol also expects heavy rainfall and rising ocean levels to pose a hazard to Europe’s airports. “Two-thirds of coastal or low-lying airports are expected to be at increased risk of flooding in the event of a storm surge, with potentially large secondary impacts on regional economies, including the loss of ground transport links.”

Not all the news is dire, however. According to the report, “Future flight operations will also be modified by climate change, with jet streams reducing many transatlantic flight durations both eastbound and westbound. This will have positive effects on flight times, fuel burn and emissions.”

But the report summary is candid when it comes to a call for action: “From a network point of view, the report provides scientific confirmation of the operational impacts due to weather that the Eurocontrol Network Manager and partners are already experiencing and working closely to mitigate and gives an insight into what can be expected in the future. Its main findings highlight how all aviation actors need to build climate resilience into their operations.”

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. Since creation, it’s adapt or die. I guess the report is good news since it signals that things are still normal.

    • Now how did I know I would find you Arthur here with the first comment on an article concerning climate change? 😉

      • Pilots fly in weather, and they still will. Pilots will still need to plan the same as always as well. Climate change is less a worry to pilots since each flight is unique.

  2. “Rising ocean levels.” I call Bravo Sierra !!

    Every time I read crap like that, I run out in my back yard in FL to see if the ocean has eaten my dock yet … nope … it’s still there high and dry.

    I think Europe should go back to living in caves. That’ll satisfy all the tree huggers! OH … and stay on the ground, too … will ya’ll.

    OK … let the attacks on Larry S begin …

    • The evidence you cite is anecdotal. And limited by your direct experience. It’s sorta like what happens when you are in IMC and are absolutely sure you are in a turn because all of your senses tell you that. However, when you put that experience into a larger context, by having instrument training, you recognize the reality.

      The unfortunate and frightening truth is that the planet is warmer than it has ever been, the storms more frequent and intense, the wild fires larger, and the rivers and fresh water reserves more depleted. It’s not us against them, it’s all of us. It’s not a blame game either. No one really figured that burning coal and then oil would have this impact. It’s not like modern societies said “lets ruin the climate!”. The more we accept the situation, the more we can (hopefully) correct the situation. Wish us luck.

      • B.S.
        The truth is that the planet hardly warmed at all the last 100 years or so. All so called ‘facts’ you mention have been debunked a long time ago, these are IPCC lies.
        Our co2 contribution is less than 5% of all co2 in the atmosphere which is a mere 0,04% or 410 ppm (from burning coal and oil, and yes even you produce co2 while breathing and living). Co2, that trace gas which is important for life on this planet can not warm the planet at all.

        Its not all of us. Its the alarmists with their green communist agenda against real, proven scientific facts. Scientists willing to examine and study nature, physics, paleontology and history.

        • I concur. Ice core samples from Antarctica from eons ago show higher levels of co2 than now so how did THAT happen … there were few if any humans clomping around the planet. And water vapor from the oceans is a far greater ‘greenhouse’ gas than co2.

          All of this talk is nothing more than lefties and politicians trying to control us, opportunists trying to sell carbon offsets so they can get rich yet still fly their jets and live in huge homes (AL G), electric vehicle nuts trying to convince everyone that powering transportation machines from antiquated grids powered by carbon fuels and so on. IF you ascribe to the belief that climate change is being caused by humans, how come no one is trying to limit population growth … the single largest problem? There IS a limit to the number of humans who can inhabit the planet with a decent lifestyle but it’s ‘convenient’ to ignore that.

          And most of us here are flying GA airplanes that burn carbon fuels either directly or — they hope soon — indirectly from batteries … the production of which also produces green house gases. Give up your airplanes if you feel THAT strongly … do YOUR part. Put your actions where your mouths are. ME … I’m gonna fire up my 460 Ford V8 and go to the airport now. There are hungry trees needing their dinner.

          While I’m at it, if we didn’t have such an intransigent FAA keeping us flying 50+ year old airplanes with fixed timing and carburetors, we could be flying airplanes with engines more like the Rotax 912iS. OH … I forgot … it’s all about safety; screw economy and the environment.

          See sentence two in my first comment …

          • Well, that’s very true that prior eons on the planet have contained higher levels of co2, but there are a couple of important caveats to that statement. The information contained in those same ice cores that you cite also shows us that:
            – during those epochs you wouldn’t have found a single ounce of ice anywhere on the planet since the overall global climate was much hotter compared to today
            – the buildup of co2 to those levels was gradual over several million years as opposed to the rocket sled increase seen over the last 200 years

          • Larry, I’m with you on the engines. The FAA has squashed GA innovation for decades. You are also correct that about all we really know is that there is more CO2 being measured.

            I’m going to add that there is a VERY high correlation between people who believe highly in the climate change theories and who will not accept any policy changes to prevent it that mean compromise on their other beliefs. They want no nuclear power. They want want no additional fuel taxes which might be regressive. They don’t want more efficient homes that might cause gentrification unless they are being built for the poor. They want to tax cars by value not inefficiency. I could go and on.

            They will happily come for our antique planes which they hate, and which are mostly only still flown because nothing truly new can be reasonably met within all their rules.

  3. When I look at a profile view of the planet and see the thinnest of thin atmospheres, the vast majority of which is below an altitude of less than ten miles, surrounding a planet eight thousand miles diameter, whose primary heat source is the decay of radionuclides, my smell-test begins to beep when you tell me that tiny percentage changes in one atmospheric gas has any effect on atmospheric temperature. Then you say yes, that sliver of atmosphere is causing a one degree C change in its own temperature over decades, and that’s important but 30 trillion tons of dirt and water aren’t. Right. I’m sending for the paddy wagon.

    • Wait til the tree huggers find out that ‘ol Sol is gonna incinerate the earth when it becomes a red dwarf, Jim.

      • Most tree huggers are rather in tune with with celestial science Larry, and would be aware that ‘ol Sol is only about half way through its expected life span and that the Earth won’t have to worry about its red dwarf phase for a couple more billion years

    • @James, it is not the thin atmosphere which is causing the one degree C change over decades, it is a rather large fusion reaction occurring about 93 million miles away. The radiation from that reaction deposits about 1,000 W/m2 through the atmosphere to the Earth’s surface (Source: Wikipedia “Sun”, section “Sunlight”). By contrast, the decay of those radionuclides delivers only 0.087 W/m2. (Source: Wikipedia “Earth”, section “Heat”). Small changes to the atmosphere, making big changes to how much of that 1,000 W/m2 can radiate back out into space, have a lot more scope to change the temperature at the surface than does the relatively unvarying 0.087 W/m2 from below.

  4. So, we think we are affecting the weather and we shouldn’t. But we can control the weather by controlling people and by spending money, lots of it. But we shouldn’t control the weather directly, that would be cheating.
    The gods are angry and we must sacrifice a _______(fill in the blank). It’s an old superstition and it hasn’t gone away.

  5. Genisis 7:1-5
    The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”

    5 And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.

      • HI Dennis,
        I think that man is foolish if he thinks he can control the temperature or climate of the earth. My studies show that most changes in the temperature come from Sun Spot activity. And how much taxes and fascism will we have to endure and be taxed on a foolish endeavor.

  6. When did weather become a synonym for climate? Seriously.
    The first thing that Leftists try to do, to control the rest of us, is corrupt the language.
    Danger, Will Robinson.

  7. Though I don’t believe in “Climate Change”, I’m glad to see “Eurocontrol” (What IS it that they “control”–and who are the “Controllers”?) getting into the regulatory climate.

    Our own “regulators” (FAA, and government in general) have been such a hamper and damper on “innovation” that they have nearly killed the very industries they regulate. Do they not realize that in doing so, they may put THEMSELVES out of a job?

    I was able to come by old issues of the Federal Aviation Regulations–from 1927 and 1952 (in addition to my aviation magazine collection dating back to the late 50s). The FARs from 1927 were only 7 book-sized pages long–yet they contained much of the same verbiage as those of today–just not as long-winded. By 1952, they had expanded to 27 pages–still a tiny fraction of the shelves full of FARs we deal with today.

    I believe it was British writer Stephen Wilkenson that wrote “The British aviation regulators consider it a failure every time an aircraft takes to the air–there is always the possibility it will crash.” It looks like the Euroweenies attempts at “control” will let them catch up to our own “regulators”–the same people that have killed aviation innovation and production in the United States. At least it will put the European aviation industry (the beneficiary of FAA over-regulation) on an equally precarious footing!

    Or better yet, DEREGULATE instead of regulate! The FAA has shown the failure of increased regulation for GA–homebuilt aircraft produced annually now outnumber factory built–The average age of the GA fleet is approaching 50 years–we found that LSAs built to the (formerly) less stringent European standards were just as safe as over-regulated US standards, and that having a medical makes little or no difference in the ability to fly a GA aircraft. In the meantime, FAA has taken YEARS to eliminate un-needed regulations (MOSAIC, for example). Over-regulation has long been known as “paralysis by analysis”. If we can’t have regulation reform in the U.S.–at least this action in Europe will put them on the same standard we suffer from.


  8. If it’s not to bring the knuckle dragging wing nuttery out of the woodwork just for the entertainment (or ratings?), why does AVweb publish this kind of story? At least one commenter here admits he doesn’t even know what Eurocontrol is. I suspect he’s not the only one.

    • I once started getting regular calls from “Central Financial Control”. These yahoos were trying to collect a bill from someone who gave them my phone number and likely someone else’s name. They had found that if they used their official sounding department name and avoided telling people what company they were from, they got a better success rate on collections. People apparently thought they were from some government enforcement branch. They had not yet figured out how to change their database so as to stop using my cell phone minutes.

      Anyways, if you don’t know what Eurocontrol is, it sounds more important than it is. If you do know what it is, you might wonder why they have spare cash on hand to give to third parties to do studies.

      Cui Bono?