Hawaiian Airlines Is Tracking Climate Change From the Sky
The Earth's changing climate can lead to increased turbulence and even canceled flights.
Hawaiian Airlines has added equipment to one of its airplanes to collect real-time data on air quality as it flies.
Technicians installed the equipment on the Airbus A330 earlier this year, and Hawaiian Airlines activated it this week to begin collecting data in the Pacific, Asia and North America, according to the carrier.
The project is in partnership with the European-funded, Belgian non-profit In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System (IAGOS).
“Climate change carries significant consequences, particularly for Hawai‘i and our Pacific Island neighbors,” Hawaiian Airlines COO Jon Snook said in a statement. “It’s gratifying to know our flights are also providing crucial data to the scientific community and meteorological agencies so we can better understand and address weather changes.”
The device will gather information aimed at determining the health of Earth's atmosphere, such as the level of greenhouse gases at high altitudes.
A recent study published in the journal Climactic Change used modeling to demonstrate how extreme high temperatures could cause major disruptions across the U.S. by the end of the century. Airplanes, particularly smaller aircraft, face difficulties taking off in high temperatures as the air is thinner, reducing lift.
Some of these changes have already started to manifest. American Airlines canceled more than 40 flights in the span of a few days in June over 120 degree temperatures in Phoenix, The New York Times reported.