Have you ever ridden on an airplane? If so, was there a moment when it suddenly started to shake? That unpleasant and sometimes scary shaking is called turbulence. If there is no storm, or even clouds, it can seem to come out of nowhere!
We wanted to find out whether clear-air turbulence has increased over the past 40 years. We analyzed data from 1979 to 2020 and found a big increase over the midlatitudes. The skies that most planes fly through are bumpier now than four decades ago. In fact, over the North Atlantic, severe turbulence increased by 55%. Our findings are important because they show that we are already seeing the impacts of climate change in unexpected ways.