Buttigieg Says Climate Change Is Causing More Severe Flight Turbulence


Please fasten your seatbelts and remain seated at all times, it looks like we’re in for a bumpy flight. No less an authority than Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says so, claiming Sunday that climate change is one of the driving forces behind a rise in severe flight turbulence.

He was speaking on CBS’ Face the Nation, forecasting severe turbulence is something that will continue to“affect American travelers, whether here or abroad.” Buttigieg continued:

We’ve seen that in the form of everything from heat waves that shouldn’t statistically even be possible threatening to melt the cables of transit systems in the Pacific Northwest, to, as you mentioned, hurricane seasons becoming more and more extreme and indications that turbulence is up by about 15 percent. That means assessing anything and everything that we can do about it.

A study cited by CNBC published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters last year found there have been increases in clear-air turbulence (CAT) between 1979 and 2020, with “severe-or-greater” turbulence – the strongest category of CAT – becoming 55 percent more frequent over the North Atlantic over the course of that time period.

Buttigieg spoke about a Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 from London to Singapore last Tuesday that encountered severe turbulence, which injured over 30 passengers and is believed to have led to the death of a British man from a suspected heart attack.

“To be clear, something that extreme is very rare. But turbulence can happen and sometimes it can happen unexpectedly,” Buttigieg explained.

Since assuming his leading role at the Department of Transportation on February 3, 2021, Buttigieg has placed a strong emphasis on his desire to address climate change.

Before that he claimed in 2019 climate change caused the Syrian Civil War and mass migration out of Central America.

“There’s evidence that droughts that might have been partly worsened by climate change contributed to everything from the Syrian Civil War to the migration out of Central America that’s starting to hit our own borders, and this is just the very beginning,” Buttigieg told interviewer Alisyn Camerota.

“We could see climate wars in the future. Let’s not let that happen.”

Simon Kent
Simon Kent
Managing Editor. An Aussie and a sailor a long way from the sea.

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