Letter to the Editor: San Diego Union Tribune

Airlines need to note this rare phenomenon

Carl H. Gibson Prof of Engineering and Physics in response to Timothy Egan's "The Fate of Humanity"

Re: Timothy Egan's "The Fate of Humanity" (Dec, 10): I strongly suggest the Lion Air flight 610 tragedy is most likely another catastrophic equatorial icing (CEI) event, like MH 370, AF 447 and several other CEI events (see journaofcosmology.com) now explaining over 1,000 deaths.

No horizontal Coriolis forces on the equator permit an extreme intermittent of horizontal turbulence, so CEI events are rare but powerful by Kolmogorov's thrid law of turbulence. Vorticity and personal income have log-normal statistical laws. The more you have, the more you get.

So rare tornadoes of super-cooled steam can push up to five miles near the equator. An airplane hits these like a brick wall. First a ton of ice forms on the tail and vertical stabilizer, which causes a brief increase in altitude that the Boeing MAX8 avionics was intended to correct. Meaning while the wings are icing over and all is lost. The only option is to reduce power and bail out before hitting the water in about five minutes.