The study of impacts and adaptations to climate change in a aviation case study

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Monday, 18 January 2010
Exhibit Hall B2 (GWCC)
Sahar Tajbakhsh, Tehran, Iran; and E. Moradi and F. Mohamadi

Adaptation is one of the linkages between drivers, impacts and responses to climate change which was introduced by IPCC in 2007 synthesis report. Impacts to climate change can't be tolerated in socio-economic activities such as aviation and adaptation to climate change has considerable role to reduce their losses actually.

In this paper, it is attempted to present financial losses of some Iranian airlines which their flights couldn't land in destination airports (Ahwaz and Abadan airports) due to raising rust of Iraq deserts in June and July 2009 as one of the impact to climate change; in fact, these flights either return to the departure airport (QRF) or land in the alternate airport (divert).

During summer time, the trough of heat low places over Middle East and its cyclonic circulation transfers raising dust from Iraq deserts toward south and southwest of Iran. But in recent years, it is seems that the raising dust had intensified due to climate change in Iraq deserts, so that, the domain of their activities had spread to central parts of Iran in summer 2009. The climate change in Iraq deserts can be caused by gradual decrease local herbal coverage and rivers water during previous years. Domination of the dense raising dust had stopped routine activities such as flight operations in south and southwest of Iranian provinces including Khouzestan state actually. According ICAO documents ( Doc.8168), a flight cannot be permitted to land if visibility is less than airport minimum visibility. The rising dust had caused that aircrafts couldn't land in the Ahwaz and Abadan airports. The minimum visibility is 1200 meter with ILS(Instrument Landing System) approach-CATI for landing in Ahwaz airport and is 2700 meters for topolov 154(T154) and 2400meters for Foker100(F100) in NDB(Non Directional Beacon) approach in Abadan airport according to Iran AIP(Aeronautical Information Publication). A significant increase has been seen in the number of days which visibility in Ahwaz and Abadan airports were less than their airport minimum visibilities in comparison with mean long term 15 years for June and July 2009. Nevertheless issuing meteorological warnings (AIRMETS) for Ahwaz and Abadan airports, 13 QRF and 9 divert flights had been recorded during these 2 months by Tehran ACC(Area Control Center) office.

Regarding the type of aircraft, EET (Estimate Elapse Time), flight plan rout distance, distance alternate aerodrome for diverting flight and also rate of consumption fuel/min(liter), the total fuel consumption and total emission CO2 are estimated for all QRF and divert flights. The results show 134,519 liter fuel consumed and about 7913 kg(8 tones)CO2 emitted into the atmosphere for about 32 hours unnecessary flights.

These socio-economic losses could be controlled with a right management if the airlines decision makers were more familiar with adaptation to climate change. A correct ATFM (Air Traffic Flow Management) could be very helpful in these situations. For instance, the time of flights landing could be transfer from early morning and late evening to midday that density of aerosols have been decreased and visibility improves. Also to install appropriate equipments such as ILS-CAT II for Ahwaz airport with high density traffic where its minimum visibility is less than allowable value(1200m) in 22 days during 2 months, could be another way for adaptation to climate change. Also equippig Abadan airports to ILS-CATI instead of NDB might solve the landing problems of 13 flights in the period of the case study.