The Impact of Southwest Airline's Contribution to Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Nitrous Oxide Totals

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Wilkerson, Cody Lee
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Middle Tennessee State University
Over the last century, aviation has grown to become an economical juggernaut. The industry creates innovation, connects people, and maintains a safety goal unlike any other field. However, as the world becomes more populated with technology and individuals, a general curiosity as to how human activity effects the planet is becoming of greater interest. This study presents what one domestic airline in the United States, Southwest Airlines, contributes to the atmospheric make-up of the planet. Utilizing various sources of quantifiable data, an outcome was reached that shows the amount of Carbon Dioxide and Nitrous Oxide produced by Southwest Airlines from 2002 to 2013. This topic was chosen due to the fact that there are no real quantifiable values of emission statistics from airlines available to the public. Further investigation allowed for Southwest Airlines to be compared to the overall Carbon Dioxide and Nitrous Oxide contributions of the United States for the year 2011. The results showed that with the absence of any set standard on emissions, it is vital that one should be established. The data showed that the current ICAO standard emission values showed a higher level of emissions than when Southwest Airline's fleet was analyzed using their actual fleet mix.
Aerospace, Atmospheric Composition, Carbon Dioxide, Environment, Nitrous Oxide, Southwest