Sustain.Life has been acquired by Workiva, the world’s leading cloud platform for assured, integrated reporting.
Learn more

VIDEO: Record heat and rising turbulence

May 30, 2024

The Week in Sustainability – May 27–31, 2024

Airplane wing in the air

Climate change brings profound and often unexpected consequences. Two recent developments highlight its far-reaching impacts: the record-breaking heatwaves of last year and the surprising connection between climate change and increasing flight turbulence.

Record-breaking heatwaves

A new assessment by the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Center, World Weather Attribution, and Climate Central reveals the stark reality of climate change. Last year, the global average person experienced 26 more days of abnormally high heat than they would have in a cooler world. This extreme heat shattered records and put billions at risk, with human-induced climate change making these events twice as likely as pre-industrial times.

Unlike storms or droughts, extreme heat often doesn’t trigger immediate emergency responses, yet it is more deadly. Seniors, young children, and outdoor workers are particularly vulnerable. In some countries, like Suriname, Ecuador, and Guyana, the impact was even more severe, with nearly 180 additional days of extreme heat.

Natural climate patterns like La Niña might offer hope for relief, but historical patterns are becoming unreliable. Even with potential cooling effects, scientists remain cautious about significant temperature reductions.

Moreover, La Niña can increase storm activity, adding further risks.

Cities are adopting heat action plans involving updated occupational regulations, building guidelines, and infrastructure improvements. These measures are crucial, but the broader fight against climate change requires global cooperation and innovative solutions.

Flight turbulence: The unseen impact of climate change

Climate change also affects our skies. U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg recently highlighted the link between global warming and increased flight turbulence. This year, turbulence incidents have risen 15% compared to last year.

A study in Geophysical Research Letters reported a 55% increase in severe clear air turbulence over the North Atlantic from 1979 to 2020. Unlike turbulence caused by storms, clear air turbulence occurs in calm skies and is difficult to predict. The changing behavior of jet streams, intensified by climate change, is to blame.

Airlines need help mitigating these risks, as advanced prediction models and technology are often too costly. This challenge underscores the need for updated air travel safety policies that can keep pace with these evolving threats.

The stories of record-breaking heatwaves and increased flight turbulence illustrate the varied impacts of climate change. Our responses must be dynamic and multifaceted, from local heat action plans to updated global air travel policies. By understanding and addressing these hidden threats, we can better prepare for a future shaped by a changing climate.

Future-proof your business by fighting climate change

Request a demo
Sustain.Life Leaf Logo


1. CNCB, "Climate change is behind increasing flight turbulence, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says." Accessed: May 26, 2024

2. Nature, "Singapore Airlines turbulence: why climate change is making flights rougher." Accessed May 22, 2024

3. The New York Times, "Climate Change Added a Month’s Worth of Extra-Hot Days in Past Year." Accessed May 28, 2024

Editorial statement
At Sustain.Life, our goal is to provide the most up-to-date, objective, and research-based information to help readers make informed decisions. Written by practitioners and experts, articles are grounded in research and experience-based practices. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by our team of sustainability professionals to ensure content is accurate and aligns with current industry standards. Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.
Hannah Asofsky
Hannah Asofsky is a sustainability data analyst at Sustain.Life.
Sustain.Life Team
Sustain.Life’s teams of sustainability practitioners and experts often collaborate on articles, videos, and other content.
The takeaway
Listen on Apple Podcasts