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Global warming may seem as if it is far away from the front steps of many Americans. But every day, the impact of global warming is becoming more prevalent in our lives. So much, that it is now affecting our air travel.

National heat waves are threatening flight takeoffs in the near future. Because air density plays a major role in whether or not an aircraft can take off, the excessive heat may take a toll on aircraft ascents. Since the 1980s, the global temperature has risen about 1-degree Celsius and continues to rise. With more hot air surrounding the plane, the density of the air declines. Less air density makes it harder for the wings to generate lift. This is why over 40 flights were canceled in Phoenix, Arizona back in June when the temperature reached 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

In order for these planes to even attempt to take off, they need to wait out the heat or remove passengers for a lighter load. And with fewer people per plane, that means more flights, and, therefore, even more emissions.

If temperatures keep rising, and it seems they will, airports will have to either have to extend their runways or even redesign planes completely in order to withstand these impending heat waves. This means more cost on the airline and, therefore, a higher ticketing price. In this case, you lose flight choices and money.

It is expected by 2080 the global temperature will rise to 4 degrees Celsius. In order to avoid this massive change in temperature, we must stop emitting as much pollution into the atmosphere.

How can we stop this increase?

A few ways we can help avoid a global temperature increase to a dangerous 2 degrees Celsius is to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. In order to do so, you can:

  • Switch over to renewable energy.

    • This way, you can reduce your own impact on emissions and have control over where your energy comes from.
  • Eat less meat

  • Drive less; “carpool” more

    • By driving less and using either public transportation or carpooling, you can reduce your global impact by over half.
  • Take fewer flights

    • Choose to take the train instead, or travel less if your job does not require to constantly travel. Reducing your own flight frequency helps reduce the airline need on a global scale, if even by a small margin.

For more ways on how to reduce your carbon footprint, check out our recent article: 50 Ways to Reduce your Carbon Footprint.