Impact of Aviation on the Global Atmopherer.Dissertation Proposal

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The air travel accounts for almost 11% of Europe's GDP and 24 million jobs. Air travel is the most popular mode of travel for both UK residents travelling abroad and for overseas residents visiting the UK. In 2005, UK residents made a record 53.6 million visits by air, representing almost four-fifths of all visits abroad (Friends of The Earth, 2006). The aviation industry currently faces a lot of impediments due to growing impacts of climate change, local air quality, surface access conjunction and noise.

This report will elucidate the impact of aviation on global warming and how it needs to blow the trumpet even louder to highlight the advances it has made to combat against climate change.

Some of the gases in our atmosphere such as carbon dioxide, trap heat from the sun reflecting of the earth's surface, keeping the earth warm. This is called natural green house gas effect. However human activities such as burning of fossil fuels are increasing the concentration of these gases in the atmosphere. These accidental gases are enhancing the green house effect which I know as global warming. The major green house gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen and water vapour.

Air travel is the world's fastest growing source of green house gas like Co2, which contributes to climate change. Globally the worlds 16,000 commercial jet aircraft more than 600 million tonnes of Co2. The huge increase in aircraft pollution is largely due the rapid growth in air traffic which has been expanding at nearly two and a half times average economic growth rate since 1960.

The aviation industry plays an important role in the UK economy. The demand for air travel has quadrupled over the last 25 years ,driven by falling real prices and rising incomes. For example the number of passengers travelling via UK airports has increased by 280% since 1975, while the volumes of freight handled by the UK airports have risen over by 210%. This compares an increase in UK gross domestic product (GDP) of around 60% over the same period.

According to survey conducted by newquay , apart form being lot quicker the emissions produced by air travel can significantly less when travelling by air. The study shows that an average family saloon driven at a constant speed will emit 0.06 tonnes of Co2 over the 266 miles to Newquay; with congestion in peak periods or during busy holiday time this will rise to nearly 0.1 tonnes. If one person is in the car , this equates to 0.06 – 0.1 tonnes of co2 per person being emitted for the one way journey ,significantly higher than for air travel,or if there are two people in the car -0.03-0.05 tonnes of co2 similar to the average for air travel. A one-way flight in a B737-400 would generate 5.8 tonnes of Co2; at 100% seat occupancy this equates to 0.042 tonnes of Co2 person, at 75% seat occupancy 0.055 tonnes of Co2 per person.

Theoretical Review

Transport first became a recognized as a significant source of air pollution after the substantial problems of smog from coal combustion had been mostly resolved in the industrialized cities of Western European and North American. Since then, pollution from road, air, rail and water transport have been more significantly responsible for acid deposition, ozone depletion and climate change. Most recently, road traffic exhaust emissions have been the cause of the bulk of concern about the effects of urban air quality on human health and troposphere ozone production (Colvile et al, 2001) however, due to the continued growth in air travel , there is a rising concern about the impact of aircraft emissions on the environment.

Two of the ways in which air travel affects climate are the emission of carbon dioxide and the creation of high-altitude contrails. Currently the scientific and policy literature on aviation and climate change is subject to frequent, significant revision and alterations due to a rapidly increasing and developing knowledge base and debate...
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