Climate change is making travel that much harder

The design of most of our transportation infrastructure was based on the climate of the mid-20th century

Jul 17, 2023

As climate change continues to warm the planet and make weather more extreme, much of that infrastructure will become less safe and reliable. And some of today’s popular tourist destinations may become intolerable as heat waves make some places unbearable.

Key takeaways

  • Climate change has the potential to disrupt air travel in a variety of ways. For one, high temperatures may hinder airplane takeoffs or even prevent them;
  • While rail tracks are designed to operate within a wide range of temperatures, if temperatures exceed this range, tracks can become misaligned or buckle into what are called “sun kinks;”
  • U.S. roads are usually made of asphalt or concrete, which absorbs heat, intensifying the effect of hot temperatures, making roads so hot that they soften and can deform.

Get the full story at Columbia University's State of the Planet

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