JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Half a million people in the air at any one time

Marvel at the science and engineering that keeps these planes flying, and remarkably safely:

Planes in the sky with half a million people in the air at any one time | Guardian & Flightstats

How many flights are in the air at once? NOAA estimates that 5,000 planes are in the sky over the United States. On any given day, more than 87,000 flights travel through US airspace… globally estimates seem to be that there are around 8,000 – 13,000 though I didn’t happen to find an authoritative source.

This youtube shows the dots in motion:

 This youtube works  better in a larger view – those planes are just too dang small, but it has better resolution.

The Guardian has a very nice display of current flights (using realtime data) to celebrate 100 years of passenger flights (from January 2014). It shows the top image in motion.

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105 comments to Half a million people in the air at any one time

  • #

    The growth in air travel since the Wright Brothers first flew 110 years ago is phenomenal. But I would guess that only about 10-20% of the World’s population has been in an aeroplane. The dots are all concentrated in USA and Europe. But China and India each have twice the population of USA and Europe combined. The biggest growth is yet to come.

    80

  • #
    Peter Miller

    Perhaps, what is so incredible is not the growth of the airline industry, but its safety record.

    I suppose some feeble minded alarmist is bound to make a comment about carbon footprints and how we should all be more responsible about supposed ‘climate change’ and travel less.

    However, the real point is that we recently came out of the equivalent of a carbon dioxide famine for plants. CO2 levels are almost at their lowest point ever in the geological record, prior to the start of the Pleistocene Era, which began 2.65 million years ago. About 20,000 years ago during the last ice advances, CO2 levels fell to around 180ppm, just 30ppm above the minimum level to support plant life.

    The current level of circa 400ppm CO2 is like being on a mild diet for most plants, but to feel really healthy they would like 500ppm or even more.

    So, increasing air travel makes plants feel healthier and happier, while simultaneously upsetting the alarmists. As for me, I am with the plants.

    322

    • #
      Steve

      As the Romans demonstrated, solid communications and transport allows a nation to flourish.

      The extreme greenies are luddites and seem to hate the idea of growth.

      I’d like to expand my footprint, with my size 12….

      80

  • #
    PhilJourdan

    And Monday, I was one of those people! I can believe it, even if the number is awe inspiring!

    50

  • #
    Rod Stuart

    Kevin, Wilbur and Orville were not the first. Nearly a year earlier, Richard Pearse flew an aircraft near Christchurch, New Zealand. Unlike the Wright’s crude machine, the NZ aircraft had ailerons, elevator, and rudder. Whereas the Wrights used a factory built motorcycle engine, Pearse built his own, from scratch.
    In the 1920’s the Russians were obsessed with huge aircraft. The Kalinin K7 was larger in dimensions than a B-747. Joanne mentioned the Engineering that produces the remarkable safety record. The K7 flew and flew well, but Kalinin had to add a seventh engine. This was the downfall of the project, because the added turbulence and vibration caused a failure. It was the downfall of the man himself, because Stalin had him executed.

    61

    • #
      Roy Hogue

      Rod,

      History records that the wrights designed and built their engines themselves with the help of an employee. From the look of it in what photographs are available it doesn’t resemble any motorcycle engine I’ve ever seen. A motorcycle engine would probably be marginal at best as far as power. So I’ll go with the story that they designed and built their own engines.

      Interesting that Pearse didn’t get the credit for the first powered flight. History sometimes screws up. Having even still photos of his plane in flight would have cemented his place in history instead of Orville and Wilbur Wright.

      That the Wrights didn’t tumble to the idea of ailerons doesn’t diminish their accomplishment. One way or the other, you need a way to control pitch, roll and yaw and they managed all three successfully. When Glen Curtis started working to advance the state of the art he ran headlong into a problem the Wrights didn’t have, a more rigid wing structure couldn’t be warped as the Wrights had done so he needed a better idea. In a very real sense, Glen Curtis is much more responsible for the development of practical powered flight than were the Wrights.

      20

  • #
    Stuart Elliot

    Quite often I’m one of those half a million, having racked up a hundred commercial flights in 2013. The thing is, each business trip had a purpose, to go where there was a problem or opportunity and work with people there to improve the odds of a good outcome.

    When the impact of a flight is to improve how a facility operates so that its environmental, business and human impact is enhanced (that’s the work I do), I think the question ought to be “How can we do more of this?”

    And if the energy industry (to use an example) was as committed to safety as the airline industry, that would be a very good thing indeed. There is still a long way to go.

    70

  • #
    Pathway

    Airline travel is safe because airplanes are designed by engineers, not climate scientist.

    580

    • #
      Peter Miller

      I wish I had thought of that.

      Would anyone dare travel on a plane designed by climate modellers?

      200

      • #
        William

        Seeing as they believe that the missing heat is trapped in the ocean Peter, I fully expect that climate modelers would be the first to discount hot air balloons as a viable means of flight.

        100

      • #
        Roy Hogue

        Would anyone dare travel on a plane designed by climate modellers?

        No But don’t go too far with that idea. The modern airplane is the result of computer modeling you wouldn’t believe. The difference is that the models of flight dynamics, structural strength, handling ability and a lot of other things are well validated by experience, empirical evidence if you like, whereas the climate models are guesswork.

        By the time a new design lifts off the runway for the first time the designers are quite confident that it will fly as they believe it will. And they usually do, notwithstanding that the design will be refined from real flight data before a paying passenger ever gets aboard. Climate modelers can only call their detractors ugly names when they have their failures pointed out. Big difference.

        70

        • #
          William

          Perhaps Roy, one could argue that aircraft performance models are bound by physics whereas climate models do their best to flout the bounds of physics.

          50

          • #
          • #
            Roy Hogue

            With a little more time to explore the other videos at the end of Jo’s Guardian link I found this. Watch these pilots coping with a rather extreme and gusty crosswind. Notice how few of them manage to put the airplane on the runway center line as they’re supposed to. Also notice how rough the turbulence is. This is not necessarily a dangerous situation but it taxes a pilot’s skill, sometimes overtaxes it. And some of those landings were certainly hard on both the airplane and its occupants.

            I’m not trying to be the pilots critic here. Crosswind landings can be a real b-i-t-c-h! And the opportunity to practice them doesn’t come around very often either.

            10

            • #
              William

              Roy,

              You are doing your best to talk yourself out of an overseas holiday! Unless of course, you go by sea. Just avoid the Costa Concordia!

              00

    • #
      The Griss

      hmmmm.. trying to imagine how an airplane designed by a climate scientist might function.

      …. nope,, hitting a blank. No functional parts.

      110

      • #
        Mark D.

        Griss, this is a really good point. Airliners flying on a 97% confidence level or with error bars like those bracketing temperature reconstructions, would be, say, mostly empty?

        The difference between engineering and well climate “science”.

        30

        • #
          ROM

          The aircraft of today, civil airliners, sports aircraft, gliders, fighters,bombers, missiles and etc and etc are designed almost entirely through a modelling process.
          To build an aircraft and then test it to find if the engineering is right and then do huge alterations to get that aircraft up to a satisfactory performance level without the modelling involved would be beyond any organisations financial capabilities today.
          Thats how aircraft were designed up until the early 1960′s when the first of the room sized computers started to appear in research establishments.

          Unlike climate models, the engineering models used in aircraft design have an enormous amount of hard learned experience and engineering incorporated into them.
          And that includes the lessons from thousands of aviation related deaths and disasters over the last century.

          But they still get it wrong when they push on into territory where there is not enough knowledge of all the factors involved.
          As witness the Composite fibre reinforced plastic [ type of fibre glass which we have used in glider construction starting in 1965 in Germany ] Boeing Dreamliner’s problems with it’s wing to fuselage juncture where a drastic reengineering of the fibre lay up had to be implemented.
          Then the LI battery problems of the Dreamliners plus a number of other serious problems all of which will be or have been overcome and the lessons incorporated into the future aircraft modeling systems.

          Airbus Industries problems with the Rolls Royce engines disintegrating because an internal oil tube was too thin on the outside of a bend and gave way under pressure and vibration.
          The ongoing disaster that is the F22 Stealth fighter and etc .

          And climate scientists think and some believe they can arrogantly provide all the answers that are irrevocable after a couple of decades of peering at computer screens without ever being able to test their real time modelled climate in the real world to see where the flaws are in those climate models.

          111

          • #

            Aviation, especially military aviation, was an amazing thing.

            The golden age was probably the 20 years following WW2, as the Americans especially came out with a bewilderingly large number of military aircraft, highlighted by the Century Series, the F-100, 101, 102, 104, 105 and 106, and all of them were from different manufacturers, North American, McDonnell, Convair, (2 of those) Lockheed, and Republican. From then, the number of manufacturers rationalised, as McDonnell joined with Douglas, North American joined with Republican to become Northrop, while others also merged, and Convair morphed into General Dynamics, culminating with the F-111 and its Naval Variant, the F-14.

            The Menzies Government decided to go with the F-111, a major departure from sourcing Military aircraft from the UK, as the second aircraft in that selection was the wonderful TSR-2, already flying, while the F-111 was still barely off the drawing board.

            We here in Oz asked for different specs, heavier landing gear, a better WCTB which operated the variable geometry wing, and a number of other specs as well, hence we took so long in actually taking delivery.

            The Americans had a similar aircraft renewal program as with their cars, which had a new model each year and some each half year., and the same applied with their USAF fighter and bomber aircraft, as they were replaced at a bewildering rate.

            General Dynamics operated out of Fort Worth and the factory was a typical (Henry Ford inspired) production line, with the construction starting at one end and the new plane rolling off the other end. That production line was one mile long, and workers would arrive to start each day with a number alongside their name on the work roster. That number corresponded to the yard markers in a mile, and that’s where they were rostered for the day.

            The Americans actually learned something from Australia, and that was related directly to the F-111, and it actually started with the interim bird we had while waiting for the F-111. the MD F-4 Phantom. Here in Oz, we had a problem with one, and rather than eject, the crew returned to base, and landed very gently, wheels up on the foamed airstrip at Amberley.

            MD came out and saw a virtually undamaged aircraft, but the real damage was major, and they wrote it off. Here, a decision was made to repair the aircraft, which we did, back to full flying status.

            With the F-111, we kept it way way longer than the Americans kept theirs, mainly attaching new technology as it arose, like digital, and then Pave Tack. The Americans looked our way at what we were doing and were mightily impressed, mainly that we could keep this aircraft operational long after they started retiring theirs.

            The F-111 was in fact, the end result aircraft, totally irreplaceable in every respect. When the US was calling for replacement for their F-111′s they found that it just could not be done ….. with the one aircraft. It had become just too costly.

            The end result, was that General Dynamics, after seeing what we were doing with ours here in Oz, just knocked a hole in the side of that one mile long factory, and started wheeling in F-111′s for upgrade, the first time this had been done with any American aircraft, the old adage just being to retire them and put them out in the desert for spare parts.

            The Americans flew the F-111 longer than for any other military fighter bomber aircraft.

            It proved to be one of the single most versatile military combat aircraft ever designed, and even when we finally ceased operations with them, they were still capable of holding their own with any other military aircraft, just too expensive to keep operational.

            More’s the pity.

            Look at this short video clip and see just how good Australian military pilots are as he belly lands an F-111 after losing a wheel on take off. Note how the tailhook is deployed close to the end of the strip, and the pilot then jockeys the engines so that the aircraft is still flying with just that hook touching the strip, and then as it engages the barrier cable for a gentle put down. This is so much precision flying it’s difficult to explain it all.

            The USAF would have pointed it at the ocean and punched out.

            F-111 Wheels Up Landing

            Tony.

            70

            • #

              Sorry, Northrop was its own entity.

              North American morphed into Rockwell, and Republic folded.

              Tony.

              20

              • #
                ROM

                A good gliding friend of mine who is now in his late 80′s but still flies and is a very active and switched on gentleman was amongst the worlds leading aircraft metal fatigue experts back in the 1960′s 70′s and 80′s.

                He was in the first team in the world here in Australia to start testing for metal fatigue failures in aircraft after the end of WW2. The war had ended and the young blokes reckoned they had to find something and quick to keep themselves employed as researchers.
                Some aircraft were just breaking up in mid air for no apparent reasons so they built a fatigue test stand to duplicate normal flight cycles and as they had a whole stack of the Australian built Wirraway derived Boomerang fighter wings laying around they started on those and were amongst the very first to start to examine and draw lessons from metal fatigue and it’s relationship to flight cycles in aviation.

                He was seconded by the Australian Government to General Dynamics who built the swing wing F111 that Australia had ordered in about 1970 as the Americans had some major problems in the F111 with cracking in the critical fuselage metal wing swing pivot structures so Alan was one of those tapped to find a solution.

                He also was amongst the first in the world to use an adhesive technique to patch up metal fatigue cracks in aircraft including on Australia’s airforce trainer’s undercarriages.

                A lot of the structure of today’s airliners and fighters and bombers are now actually glued together with some very sophisticated metal to metal adhesives.

                He use to tell a little story about North American Aviation, a then major american military aviation manufacturer.
                Alan had an almost universal security clearance so use to wander in and out of various design offices. One day the NA engineers took him down to a hangar and proudly showed him a new fighter with a composite plastic tail fin.
                They were most proud as it was the first use of FRP’s in aircraft they told him.
                Alan wandered off out and rang a gliding friend’
                Next morning he invited all the NA engineers to come down to the main gate and have a look at something they might be interested in.
                And there was the glider trailer.
                Alan and his mate then proceeded to unload and rig a completely FRP glider, a “Libele” built in Germany that had been designed and built some ten years previously before NA had got around to using FRP’s .
                The American NA engineers were gobsmacked. They all had a sit in the rigged glider and all commented on the comfort of the reclining seat position .
                As a reclining seat position reduces the incidence of blood flow from the head during high G maneuvers guess what sort of seat position was in the next NA fighter to be produced.

                50

              • #

                With respect to metal fatigue, Australia again led the way here as well.

                It all stemmed from an accident with a Stinson Model A Trimotor.

                A couple of Australian airlines took delivery of some of these in the mid 1930′s.

                One of them has a place in Australian aviation history when it was involved in the crash in the Lamingtons in Queensland and Bernard O’Reilly found the wreckage where no one else was looking, and two of the passengers were still alive.

                Those remaining Stinsons were sold when this airline folded, and were taken on by another Airline.

                There was another crash, and after exhaustive investigation, it was found that a wing folded after the strut gave way. Metal fatigue was listed as the cause, the first time this had been listed as the cause of an airplane crash, not only here in Australia, but across the whole World, as airlines now moved towards aircraft of all metal construction.

                I have some information at the following link. If you don’t wish to read it all, scroll down the the section headed The Stinson.

                O’Reilly’s At Green Mountains (Part 5)

                Tony.

                50

              • #
                ROM

                You sure bring back memories Tony.
                I remember reading that amazing Green Mountains story of one man’s persistence and against all the expert advice maybe forty years ago

                10

              • #
                PhilJourdan

                You are allowed an occasional miscue, given the very interesting history you have presented! Thanks. I had not expected to read such information here, but then you never know the tangent an article’s comments will take. just wanted to give you my encouragement to continue.

                10

            • #
              Rod Stuart

              Tony you missed an important bird.
              About 80% of the Avro Lancasters flown in WWII were built at Malton, Ontario (Toronto). Immediately after the war AVRO entered some defence contracts with the Government of Canada. The first all weather interceptor was the CF-100, which until very recently was in service in a few third word countries. The Avro Airliner was the first jet aircraft to land in the USA. They flew it down to New York so the Yankees could have a look. Then came the contract for the CF-105 Arrow, Mach 3 capable at 60,000 feet armed with Sparrow missles in any weather. The Yankees didn’t come up with a similar aircraft until about 15 years later (1970). There are a million conspiracy theories that surround the project. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense were summoned to Washington unexpectedly, and on their return the next day ordered the end of the project, the destruction of the documentation, and destruction of all six prototypes, five of which were flying. If you read Diana West’s research called “American Betrayal”, it is not difficult to decipher that even then powerful gents were pulling the strings not only in Ottawa but in Washington. They even put Malton under Military Law while they cut the planes to pieces with gas axes.
              Since AVRO couldn’t source engines large enough, they created the Orenda Engine company and built the Orenda Iroquois for it. Forty thousand pounds of thrust each in 1955! Orenda built some great engines that provided power for TransCanada pipelines for years.

              50

            • #
              Peter C

              Tony, I doubt that the Grumann F14 Tomcat should be considered to be the naval version of the General Dynamics F111 Ardvark. The aircraft are similar to the extent that they both had a swing wing and two engines and two crew.

              00

          • #
            Rereke Whakaaro

            Modern aircraft design uses real test flights to capture data that the designers can then feed into computer models in order to understand how the aircraft performance might be improved.

            That is a valid use of computer models.

            No aeronautical engineer I have ever met, tries to design an aircraft from scratch by programming a computer from first principles, constructing it based on the model output, and then expecting it to fly with a full load of passengers.

            That is the difference between engineering and climate seance.

            (Bad spelling intentional)

            80

            • #
              William

              Brilliant analogy Rereke!

              20

            • #
              The Griss

              Yep, the mathematical descriptions of physical reality in aerodynamics seem to be pretty darn spot-on.

              In climate science.. give me a coin , any day !!!

              10

            • #
              crakar24

              What spelling mistakes?

              Actually RW it can work the other way, for example JAXA used a computer model to design an aircraft that can travel at Mach 4, the maths behind the computer model were quite solid but still the maths needed to be verified. Therefore they built a scale model stuffed it full of accelerometers, strain gauges etc, bolted it to a rocket and blasted it into the upper atmosphere with the intention of it gliding back down to Earth (very fast of course).

              The data gleaned from this flight would be used to verify the model mathematics, as you said that is the difference between engineering and science scams

              30

              • #
                Rod Stuart

                The REAL modelling begins when the experimental flight permit is issued and continues until there is a type certificate of airworthiness. It seems to me that Air New Zealand had a serious situation with just such a performance test with an aerospatial aircraft on test in the South of France a few years back.

                00

            • #
              Roy Hogue

              Rereke,

              There’s so much modeling going on before the first flight you wouldn’t be able to count all the engineers and scientists doing it. For feedback about basic aerodynamic stability and controlability you still see smaller scale models in wind tunnels. But yes, computers do one hell of a lot of the work before it ever flies.

              10

              • #
                Roy Hogue

                You are right about not flying with passengers until it passes a whole lot of flight tests, however. No one dumps an untested airplane onto the market. But with today’s knowledge about aircraft design it would be stupid not to use modeling. A crash on the computer is almost free. A crash even in a wind tunnel has a much bigger cost.

                10

              • #
                Rereke Whakaaro

                Yes Roy,

                I am aware of all of the modelling – I was employed in the industry for a while.

                I was just applying a bit of poetic license, to point out that the climate modellers don’t have access to the extensive in-depth empirical data and proven routines that aircraft designers have, and they test their efforts on the general public through Governmental policy decisions.

                I should have used the /sarc tag.

                10

              • #
                Roy Hogue

                /sarc or ;-) would have helped.

                00

              • #
                crakar24

                Its interesting because even with a new aircraft type they still cant model the stresses and strains that will accrue over a number of years, there is a certain aircraft we are about to purchase that will be fitted with instrumentation at or just after manufacture. These instruments will be in place for the life of the aircraft and will be used to determine when maintenance is scheduled (inspection for cracks etc).

                And yet we can confidently predict the Arctic will be ice free in 20XX, please spare me the bullshit.

                10

              • #
                crakar24

                Its interesting because even with a new aircraft type they still cant model the stresses and strains that will accrue over a number of years, there is a certain aircraft we are about to purchase that will be fitted with instrumentation at or just after manufacture. These instruments will be in place for the life of the aircraft and will be used to determine when maintenance is scheduled (inspection for cracks etc).

                And yet we can confidently predict the Arctic will be ice free in 20XX, please spare me the bovine exrement.

                Fixed the problem mods

                Cheers

                ——————————————————————————–

                00

          • #
            MudCrab

            The difference between Engineering use of modeling processes and Climate Science is that we recognise that ours are design tools, not gods.

            If we design a piece of equipment and it does not perform the way we expected, our heads come out of the sand and we want to know why.

            The other big difference between Engineering Professionals and Climate Science types is that we take responsibility. If we tried to pull off the sorts of excuses used by some of these ‘climate experts’, not only could we be facing massive and crippling fines for negligence, but most of us would never work in that field again.

            70

            • #
              Roy Hogue

              If we design a piece of equipment and it does not perform the way we expected, our heads come out of the sand and we want to know why.

              True. But if you get clear to the first prototype 787 ready to take off, you’ve spent perhaps a billion or more. You better have a lot of confidence that it will fly. And a crash is a very public thing and very bad for your reputation.

              10

    • #
      King Geo

      I thought airline travel was full proof until I started watching episodes of Aircrash Investigation (National Geographic Channel) on Foxtel recently. There have been 13 Seasons so far. Crashes caused by pilot error, poor aircraft maintenance etc, even one case where a senior pilot (in his late 50′s) deliberately crashed the airliner because he was told just before the flight that he was going to be made redundant after the flight – the EgyptAir Flight 990 in 1999 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean killing all on board after departing from JFK airport in NY. This Series has certainly changed my perception of airline travel.

      20

      • #
        William

        King Geo, you are still more likely to die in an accident on the way to the airport than your are to die in an airline accident. That said, there are some airlines that I would not fly on!

        30

        • #
          King Geo

          William the stats support your argument – most of the crashes shown on the AirCrash Investigation episodes occurred in the late 20th century. Safety has been tightened up considerably since but as you say there are some airlines one is wise to avoid – usually small aircraft carrying 20 or less passengers flying in treacherous mountainous terrains.

          40

    • #
      DT

      The climate change scientists fly self powered hot air balloons don’t they?

      60

    • #
      Truthseeker

      Yes and 97% of passengers would agree that crashing was the desired destination …

      30

      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        Every aircraft crashes every time it flies. It is the location and severity of the impact that is important.

        30

        • #
          The Griss

          Yep, it can sure vary.. I’ve had a couple of really bouncy landings, almost crunchy.

          but the last one, barely felt a jolt, just the rumbling of the tyres and then the deceleration. beeee utiful.:-)

          10

        • #
          PhilJourdan

          You and my mother would get along JUST fine! ;-)

          10

  • #
    TdeF

    My estimate was always 2-3 Million people. At least an Adelaide and probably a Brisbane in the air at any time with peaks and troughs. Excluding small planes, 10,000 medium size planes would be 2 million people. Europe is at least as busy as the US. So is Asia. Around 15,000 would give 3 million. It was always a reassuring number when you were in a hurricane/cyclone/typhoon. Remember, planes do not make money on the ground so they spend their lives in the air as much as possible. In fact they age more slowly in the air as the wings are designed to be supported. Get the numbers of Boeing and Airbus and their capacity and you will have a very good idea.

    20

  • #

    Too bad that advertisements blot out part of all your graphics, particularly the part with Australia in it.

    10

  • #
    bullocky

    -
    A series of taxpayer-funded international conferences is needed to address this dilemma.

    30

  • #
    William

    The Guardian & Flightstats image was obviously taken between 11:00PM and 6:00 AM Australian Eastern Standard or Daylight time as it appears there are no flights operating on the busy Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane routes.

    30

  • #
    James Bradley

    The true deniers are those too afraid to confront change and to adapt. Humankind was never meant to stagnate. Only the universe is big enough.

    80

  • #
    Manfred

    Facsinating as this is, there remains the obvious: a problem of point/travel track representative scale, which creates an illusion of incredible density. These are modelled images and we all know about models. There will sadly be those of the dumbed-down club likely to take this as gospel representation.

    10

  • #

    OK then.

    In much the same way as burning coal at a large scale coal fired power plant emits 2.86 tons of CO2 for every ton of coal being burned, the same applies for Natural Gas fired power plants, which utilise a Gas Turbine (GT) to drive the generator. That gas turbine is (a very basic description) similar in nature to an aircraft jet engine.

    The equivalent emissions from the GT is 122 Pounds of CO2 for every mcf (thousand cubic feet) of NG being burned.

    CO2 emissions apply for the burning of most liquid fuels at around the same rate as for NG, and CO2 emissions would be similar in the burning of jet fuel for air travel.

    The total CO2 emissions from air travel are calculated at 2% of the total man made CO2 emissions.

    So, last year, the total man made CO2 emissions for ALL sources came in at 36 Billion Tonnes, hence, CO2 emissions from air travel amount to 720 Million Tonnes of CO2.

    So, using coal fired power here as something to compare with, air travel each year emits the same CO2 as 47 large scale (2000MW+) coal fired power plants.

    Tony.

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    • #
      Bulldust

      Wasn’t there the suggestion that contrails might result in some cooling effect?

      30

      • #
        Bulldust

        …so the solution might be more air travel, not less :D

        50

      • #

        On the subject of cooling – so now it is volcanoes?

        http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo2098.html

        I thought that the oceans were absorbing more heat but if aerosols are bouncing radiation back to space how can this be?

        100

        • #
          Winston

          Some long overdue skepticism, Gee Aye.

          The dictionary of warmist excuses is into its second volume.

          80

        • #
          The Griss

          This is what happens when they get things wrong for the get-go…. they are all now coming up with varying excuses, often in contradiction to each other.

          Basically, they have lost the plot .

          20

        • #
          ROM

          Thats another of the Hokey Team members,  Ben Santer’s current obsession with volcanoes being the reason for the current 17 year long global temperature hiatus.
          Santer of course as the editor was the scientist who altered the basic premise of the IPCC’s 1995 Mardrid conference proceedings from the conference approved version of a Possibility that some of the warming was due to anthropogenic causes to one where it stated that All of the warming was due to anthropogenic causes.
          Thus permanently altering the basic and then accepted premise of the climate warming science of the IPCC that mankind may have had some sort of influence over the climate through increasing CO2 to that which has been continued to this day, that mankind is solely responsible for the warming.

          And he did that alteration without any authority at all and from what can be gleaned of his own volition and he has also admitted publicly that he altered the conference agreed climate science status.
          And this was done without the conference participants even knowing of the alteration from the agreed conference statement until they had read the report on the Madrid conference proceedings which was the first the attendees knew about the alteration..

          Santer’s obsession with volcanic activity being responsible can be followed in Judith Curry’s Climate Etc report [ APS reviews its Climate Change Statement ]
          on hers, Santers, Lindzens, Collins, Held and Christy commentary to the workshop review of the American Physical Society climate change statement.

          The transcript of the workshop can be found here

          Santer’s comments and his current obsession with volcanoes being the reason behind the current global temperature hiatus can be found beginning on page 173.

          He has copped quite a lot of sniggering on Climate Etc for his volcanic obsession

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        • #
          Dave

          Gee Aye

          Also this paper on pine aerosols cooling the climate.

          The vapours apparently are are so crazy in structure, that they assist in cloud formation.
          Wonder if these little suckers are in the climate models?

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          • #
            The Griss

            And apparently, these pine vapours have only occurred this century to account for the lack of warming.

            They obviously did not occur in the period from 1970-1998 on which this farce is built. right ¿

            20

        • #
          PeterK

          So the volcanoes are the flavour of this month…anyone want to suggest what the flavour will be next month!!!

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  • #
    Bulldust

    Well the Climate Change Authority will be reporting today, no doubt demanding Australia reduce CO2 emissions by far more than 5% by 2020 (hint: Alcoa closing Geelong smelters will already give a massive reduction … CO2 reduction and de-industrialisation here we come!):

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/climate-bodys-19pc-emissions-cut-to-heat-up-climate-debate/story-e6frg6xf-1226838724414#
    (Use Google to by-pass paywall if needed)

    Here is the home of the CCA:

    http://climatechangeauthority.gov.au/

    Just a quick glance at the members tells you its an echo chamber of leftie luvvies:

    http://climatechangeauthority.gov.au/content/authority-members

    Sure Heather Ridout was an industry rep once, but remember the investment houses are part of industry too, and big gas, etc… John Quiggan, David Karoly, Clive Hamilton … all familiar names to regulars I am sure.

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  • #
    handjive

    As these people had to fly there …

    The 2014 Perth Writers Festival – comment from the ubiquitous David Marr:

    “We need to pray for an absolutely devastating drought to make Australia snap out of it.”
    .
    David Marr’s insensitive, stupid comment is an admittance that the current Australian climate is not as bad as they say/wish.
    Or, is this the ‘settled climate’ Marr et al wish to take us back to:

    Timeline: droughts and Australian drought policy 1895 – 2014

    * The Federation Drought – January 6, 1895 — March 12, 1903
    “The skies are brass and the plains are bare, Death and ruin are everywhere —
    And all that is left of the last year’s flood is a sickly stream on the grey-black mud;
    The salt-springs bubble and the quagmires quiver,
    And — this is the dirge of the Darling River.”

    * Henry Lawson – from The Song of the Darling River
    ~ ~ ~
    FYI. atmospheric carbon(sic) levels for the past 1000 years
    Interactive map to see 100 years of rainfall patterns across Australia, famously a land “of droughts and flooding rains”.

    NOTE: As carbon(sic) levels are completely inconsistent & different during all droughts, obviously carbon(sic) does NOT cause drought.
    ~ ~ ~
    What then to make of this:

    - Theology professor Susan Thistlethwaite claimed that cold weather in the United States is a punishment sent by God for “our sinful failure to take care of the Creation.”

    - Church leaders pray for drought-ending rain

    - Church of England vows to fight ‘great demon’ of climate change

    - Jesus. Make it warm!
    ~ ~ ~

    And so, we have David Marr:

    “Fire in the sky, torrential rains, droughts and Biblical floods – all supposedly brought on by the sins and wickedness of man.

    Is it really a surprise we are hearing it all once again today?”

    Uncovered 16th Century Hallucinatory Images Suggest That Today’s Climate Science Is Nothing But A Persistent Human Mental Disorder

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  • #
    ROM

    The International Air Transport Association [ IATA] is the peak body of the Airlines industry across the world.

    A couple of facts which are current to 2012 from the IATA’s web site as above;

    # IATA membership: 240 airlines, 113 countries.

    # Flights by IATA members represent 84% of total traffic (Available Seat Kilometers)

    # IATA members total freight – 43 million tonnes in 2012, of which 29 million tonnes were international

    # IATA members’ total passengers 2012 (scheduled) – 1.9 billion, of which 860 million were international .

    As above, the IATA only represents airlines that transport 84% of the global air traffic.

    After this correction is made to the IATA member’s figures of 1.9 billion air passengers annually, the global air passenger numbers would come out today [ with the added growth in air traffic since 2012 ] at around 2.275 billion passengers carried in 2013.

    From Wiki, the average airborne flight times for the different length routes are given as below

    # Short Haul flight ; less than 3 hrs,;

    # Medium -Haul flight. 3 to 6 hrs.

    # Long haul flight ; greater than 6 hrs.

    # Ultra long haul ; greater than 12 hrs

    If we looked at say an overall average flight time duration as around 4.5 hours which is around the time for a trans-continental flight we come up with the very rough figures following which it must be pointed out, are very dependent on the duration of the average airline trip used in the calculation.

    From above IATA passenger figures adjusted to include non IATA members data as well, per annum airline passenger numbers= 2.275 billion.

    Average number of Airborne passenger numbers at any one time are then ;
    Annual passenger numbers per Year / days [ 365.25 ] / hours [= 24 ] x average duration of each flight [ 4.5. est hrs ] = global airline passengers airborne at any one time.

    ie;[ 2.275 billion / 365.25 / 24 ] x 4.5 hrs flight duration = [ very roughly; One million, one hundred and seventy thousand ] 1,170,000 airline passengers airborne at any one point in time across the globe.

    So my calculations which somebody may find are incorrect or just plain wrong say that at any one time if the average airborne duration of global airline flights of every category is about 4.5 hours then at any one time there are around 1.17 million airline passengers airborne around the globe.

    From the American Boeing company, one of the big two in the airline aircraft production business , the other being the European Airbus Industries, comes this bit of data on the size of the global passenger aircraft industry and it’s potential growth estimates.

    There are globally some 20,310 airliners in service.

    By 2032 there are expected to be some 41,000 airliners in service

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  • #
    ROM

    London’s Heathrow Airport is probably the busiest airport in the world so here are a few statistics including passenger statistics.
    And this is only one of an increasing number of large international and national airports around the world.

    Heathrow Facts and figures

    Size
    Total size of Heathrow Airport: 1,227 hectares
    Number of runways: 2
    Length of runways: Northern 3,902m x 45m. Southern 3,658m x 45m.

    Movements;
    Annual air transport movements in 2012: 471,341
    Daily average air transport movements in 2012: 1,288

    Aircraft stands;
    Number of aircraft stands served by an air bridge: 125
    Number of remote stands: 49
    Number of cargo stands: 12

    Destinations and airlines;
    Number of airlines: 84
    Number of destinations served: 184 (in 80 countries)

    Most popular destinations
    New York (JFK)
    Dubai
    Dublin
    Frankfurt
    Amsterdam

    Passenger numbers;

    Number of passengers arriving and departing per day: average 191,200 (split 50/50 between arriving and departing)

    Number of passengers arriving and departing in 2012: 70 million

    Busiest day ever recorded (passenger numbers): 31 July 2011 with 233,561

    Busiest year ever recorded (passenger numbers): 2012 with 69.98 million

    Percentage of international passengers in 2012: 93% (65.3 million)

    Percentage of domestic passengers in 2012: 7% (4.7 million)

    Percentage of business travellers in 2012: 30% (20.7 million)

    Percentage of other leisure travellers in 2012: 70% (49.3 million)

    Percentage of transfer passengers in 2012: 37% (26.0 million)

    Passenger volume by terminal (millions) 2012:

    Terminal 1 – 13.6 million passengers on 119,183 flights
    Terminal 2 – closed for construction
    Terminal 3 – 18.6 million passengers on 96,326 flights
    Terminal 4 – 9.8 million passengers on 59,955 flights
    Terminal 5 – 28.1 million passengers on 193,440 flights

    Cargo;
    Cargo tonnage in 2012: 1.46 million metric tonnes

    10

    • #
      Truthseeker

      ROM,

      It would be interesting to compare Heathrow to Singapore which is also huge …

      10

      • #
        ROM

        No sooner said than done Truthseeker.

        Singapore’s Changi Airport statistics

        FACTS & STATISTICS

        Serving about 100 international airlines flying to some 250 cities in 60 countries and territories worldwide, Changi Airport handles about 6,500 flights every week and over 50 million passengers a year.

        SIZE

        Total size of Changi Airport: 1,300 hectares (1,800 football fields)
        Number of runways: 2
        Length of each runway: 4km

        SIZE PER TERMINAL (SQUARE METRES):

        Terminal 1 – 280,020
        Terminal 2 – 358,000
        Terminal 3 – 380,000

        YEAR OF TERMINAL OPENING:

        Terminal 1 – 1981
        Terminal 2 – 1990
        Terminal 3 – 2008

        MOVEMENTS

        Annual air transport movements in 2012: 324,722
        Daily average air transport movements in 2012: 889.65

        AIRCRAFT STANDS

        Number of aircraft stands served by an aerobridge: 92
        Number of remote stands: 37

        DESTINATIONS & AIRLINES

        Number of airlines: 106
        Number of destinations served: 250 cities (60 countries)

        TOP 10 CITIES*

        1) Jakarta
        2) Hong Kong
        3) Bangkok
        4) Kuala Lumpur
        5) Manila
        6) Tokyo
        7) London
        8) Bali
        9) Sydney
        10) Ho Chi Minh City

        TOP 10 MARKETS*

        1) Indonesia
        2) Thailand
        3) Australia
        4) Malaysia
        5) China
        6) Hong Kong
        7) India
        8) Philippines
        9) Japan
        10) Vietnam

        PASSENGER NUMBERS

        Average number of passengers arriving & departing per day: 136,738

        Number of passengers arriving and departing in 2012: 51.2 million

        Busiest day ever recorded (passenger numbers): 22 December 2012 with 180,400 passengers

        Busiest month ever recorded (passenger numbers): December 2012 with 4.92 million passengers

        Busiest year ever recorded (passenger numbers): 2012 with 51.2 million passengers

        Percentage of transfer passengers in 2012: 30%

        Percentage of premium passengers in 2012: 10%

        EMPLOYMENT

        Number of Changi Airport Group employees: 1,400
        Total number of staff working at Changi Airport: 32,000

        *Accurate as of May 2013
        ___________________________
        Heathrow passenger statistics 2012 = 70 million

        Annual Movements ; 471,341

        [ aircraft movements ' a Movement in aviation parlance is when an aircraft takes off or lands so it does two movements each flight unless you go into orbit or do a bad bounce and then the recorders with tongue in cheeks are likely to try and class it as more than one landing ie; movement!
        It is a measure of actual aircraft airport activity ]

        Changi 2012 = 51.2 million

        Annual movements ; 324,722

        10

    • #

      The busiest airport in the world in in Atlanta, GA.

      10

      • #
        ROM

        Atlanta Georgia airport @ 95 million passengers per annum;
        Looks like you are right stan

        Dubai International now the major hub in global airline traffic and with over 60 million passengers per annum even passes Heathrow when it comes to mainly international travellers.

        Annual passenger traffic in 2013 reached 66,431,533, up 15.2 per cent compared to 57,684,550 recorded during 2012. Passenger numbers in December reached 6,047,126, an increase of 13.6 per cent compared to 5,320,961 recorded during the same month in 2012.

        Amsterdam’s Schophol airport is right up there with some 40 million passengers per annum

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  • #
    Bulldust

    The latest crazy to come from friends of gaia … wind mills will stop (sort of) cyclones and hurricanes:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/offshore-wind-farms-could-slow-cyclones-say-scientists/story-e6frg6so-1226839353697

    See? The Gaia crucifix can temper the acts of God…

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    • #
      Heywood

      What a load of complete bovine excrement!

      “Wind turbines could provide a front-line defence against cyclones and hurricanes, by slowing damaging winds and reducing storm surges.

      New modelling, published in Nature Climate Change, shows large arrays of thousands of wind turbines could theoretically cut wind speeds by nearly 150 kilometres per hour and reduce storm surges by 79%.”

      What other excuses are these idiots going to come up with to justify these bird chopping menaces?

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      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        But first, the turbines must withstand winds in excess of 200 kmh, while on load. Yeah, good luck with that.

        70

        • #
          Heywood

          Not to mention to meet the modelled figures, you would need to build 543,000 turbines off the coast. Good luck with that too.

          I just question the release of the research. The researchers clearly state that it isn’t practical, but they run with it anyway? Climate Change Propaganda machine in action!

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          • #
            crakar24

            Heywood,

            Ah now it all makes sense i was wondering why that conversation started, my embargo will end on Monday so i should be able to get the rod and reel out and do some fishing.

            Cheers

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    • #
      Truthseeker

      So, to stop weather (obviously not climate change) we need to install Wind Turbines that will affect the weather. Wind Turbines take energy out of the wind, which is what these idiots are relying on, so therefore they will affect the local micro climate. Hands up all those that think this is a good idea.

      Now we know that Wind Turbines burn up or fall over in high wind, so exactly how are they going to help with hurricanes?

      10

  • #
    Galileosapprentice

    Hilarious in a hurricane it will most likely blow the blades off and they will end up impaled in some building or field.
    Its the SUN I tell you its the SUN !

    10

  • #
    pat

    the Climate Change so-called “AUTHORITY” are political hacks.

    meanwhile, over in Germany:

    26 Feb: NoTricksZone: P. Gosselin: All Pain And No Climate Gain … Expert Government Committee Recommends “Complete Scrapping” Of Feed-In Act!
    An independent committee of expert advisors to the German government is recommending in a report that the country’s once highly ballyhooed EEG renewable energy feed-in act be scrapped altogether because it is 1) “not doing anything for the climate”, 2) “not promoting inn0vation” and 3) driving up the cost of energy.
    The report will be officially presented to the government today.
    In summary, the once highly touted German EEG renewable energy feed-in act has been all pain and no gain, and the experts see no reason to continue it…
    According to the online Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeiting (FAZ) here, the Research and Innovation commission of experts assigned by the German government says in its report that “there is no longer any justification for continuing the EEG Act.”…

    http://notrickszone.com/2014/02/26/all-pain-and-no-climate-gain-expert-government-committee-recommends-complete-scrapping-of-feed-in-act/

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  • #
    Tim

    Now I know all those safety statistics that tell my left-hemisphere that there’s more likelihood of dying from a loose container load of frozen sausages than from a plane crash. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help with my dislike of flying in a vibrating aluminum tube with around six million parts, over the middle of the Pacific Ocean in the middle of the night.

    I’ll take my chances with the sausages.

    10

    • #
      ROM

      Try a helicopter sometime Tim

      Definition of a helicopter; A bucket of bits spinning around at high speed and flying in loose formation.

      10

    • #
      Andrew McRae

      It’s a shame you won’t see the sunset over the cloud layer reflected off the wing and the jet engine cowling. Aerospace engineering and the spectacle of nature in a single picture, two forms of beauty combined.

      Although I can understand if you don’t want to pay $800 just for a pretty picture. That airline food makes it all worth it, right? No?

      Instead you could try skydiving on a cruise ship.

      10

      • #
        ROM

        My Place.

        The gleaming white wings of my glider carry me higher and higher into the brilliant blue sky on the great rising columns of air.
        Silently I glide across the plains to soar high over the mountains and bushland.
        Below me are the lakes, the ridges and the valleys of the Grampians, and their tiny hidden pools and streams, glistening in the sunlight.
        The warm sunlight sharpens the hues and shadows of the rock formations and highlights the grandeur of the wind sculpted shapes on the steep sun lit cliffs.

        Sometimes, if I am very lucky, I find a great smooth river of air rising up past the towering white billowing clouds and I laugh and whoop as I dip the racing wing tips of my tiny craft into the cloud mist as I weave in and out of the vast hollows in the glittering walls of cloud.
        Then I slowly climb above the clouds and gaze across an immense white rolling ocean of cloud tops.
        High above the bushland a shadow flickers at the corner of my eye. A magnificent wedge tailed eagle, his outstretched wings motionless, is effortlessly keeping position a few metres off my wing tip.
        We turn together in the thermal while he looks me over. Satisfied, he turns gracefully away to join his mate and they are soon lost to sight.

        In the slow gentle thermals of spring, I soar above a vast and beautiful green land, studded with the yellow paddocks of canola and the occasional browns of bare earth. Life is good!
        But all too soon, in the heat of the summer, the land changes to the yellow white glare of the harvested paddocks and the red brown ochre of it’s soils.
        It is a hard land. A harsh land.
        Often I feel pity for all those earth bound mortals far below me who will never see our world the way I see it.
        This is the land of my birth and this is “my place.”

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        • #

          If you wrote that, thank you for sharing.

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        • #
          Tim

          I’m assured by my twenty-something female pilot that there’s never been a glider crash in Hawaii.
          As I watch the tow rope fall away, I hold this thought as our fragile, powerless craft glides around the giant, rugged cliffs and the ocean batters our windscreen with spray.

          I give a grateful sigh as I realise that the Serepax is kicking in.

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  • #
    pat

    ABC, an EXPERT & a SURVEY?

    27 Feb: ABC: Workplaces need ‘policy steer’ to reduce carbon emissions, expert says
    Professor Ray Markey of Macquarie University carried out a study which showed 40 per cent of businesses are changing workplace practices to reduce carbon emissions.
    Of the 700 Australian businesses surveyed, less than 7 per cent of workplaces had clauses in their enterprise agreements relating to climate change.
    “There’s a lot the Government could do in just tweaking the industrial relations system to encourage this,” he said.
    “I don’t think there’s been a clear public policy steer in this direction as there has been in the European Union.”
    Professor Markey says Australian workplaces should look to positive carbon-reduction programs in countries such as Germany and the UK…
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-27/workplaces-carbon-emissions-public-policy/5286974

    YOU MUST CHECK THE TWO COMMENTS ON THIS LIFE MATTERS’ PAGE:

    26 Feb: ABC Life Matters: Natasha Mitchell: What do your tweets and posts reveal about you?
    A new study suggests that not only is our personality captured in a few words and emoticons, but the language reveals the state of our mental health.
    Guest: Johannes Eichstaedt
    World Well-Being Project, University of Pennsylvania
    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/what-our-tweets-and-posts-reveal-about-us/5280346
    (what i heard is the greatest drivel i’ve ever heard on ABC. Natasha gushing as always, & she always says at some point, the her listeners are tweeting up a storm & posting on her Facebook page. went to https://twitter.com/RNLifeMatters today & can’t see a drizzle much less a storm, but loved these two comments out of 3 on the Facebook page/Johannes bit, responding to him saying men say “my wife” “my girlfriend” but women don’t use a pronoun!!)

    from Life Matters Facebook page:
    Deborah Fisher How can a woman refer to her husband or boyfriend without saying ‘my’, as men apparently do vice versa? Do we say ‘the’ husband/boyfriend?! There has to be a possessive adjective, surely?
    George Baumann Thanks, @DeborahFisher, that was the bit I didn’t get either

    too many people getting into Univserties in recent years!

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  • #
    crakar24

    Oh i see now QANTAS lost 234 million so job cuts are in the frame, according to the guy from jet star 100 million of that was from the carbon tax, so who does the ABC and associated morally superior blame? Why the CEO of course by demanding he resign…………….what a phuc’d up country we live in

    40

  • #
    Roy Hogue

    The question of how safely all this flying is being done is a bit dicey. As the sky gets more and more crowded the safety of everyone depends more and more on no one in the cockpit or air traffic control getting anything wrong. Yet pilots and controllers get something wrong constantly.

    You be the judge for yourselves. But I don’t like the current situation at all and will only fly if the need is very compelling. And it has nothing to do with models being used in the design of aircraft.

    20

    • #
      William

      Fortunately in the busier commercial airspace, most aircraft use Airborne Collision Avoidance Systems (ACAS – it adds another layer of safety.

      10

      • #
        Roy Hogue

        It’s a problem on the ground in some places too. Check out the runway configuration at O’Hare International in Chicago. With so many intersecting runways near misses are all too frequent. Click on the sectional chart to get a larger view of what’s there and in the vicinity. You can pan the view around with the mouse too. The blue circles around the airport are the boundaries of the controlled air space around the airport and the lower and upper altitudes of that space are given as fractions in hundreds of feet (100/40 means 10,000 ft ceiling and 4,000 ft floor). There are also numerous other airports in the vicinity, all with traffic going in and out. Complicated problem, huh?

        AirNav is a public site by the way, anyone who knows about it can get right in, so feel free to look around. Just be a good visitor and don’t leave any footprints and no one will know you were there or even care.

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  • #

    [...] Points of Light Jo Nova has a short but inspiring post about aviation, with some rather incredible graphics from the Guardian and also YouTube, which [...]

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  • #
    Orang Putih

    Try achieving this with a critical understanding of “cultural awareness.”

    00