Why COVID has impacted weather forecast

Published: Aug. 9, 2020 at 2:35 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -Coronavirus has had so many impacts on our lives and even the weather forecasts. According to research, COVID-19 has caused decrease in flights. Aircrafts can provide crucial weather data. According to research, aircraft data was reduced by at least half but up to 75% from March through May of this year. During this time frame, several flights were unable to fly due to the virus.

Airplanes can be extremely helpful to weather forecast because they record and observe weather information along their path. Some of the information received is about air temperature, relative humidity, air pressure and wind along their flight path. This lack of information has caused some forecast to be more challenging and less accurate.

Based on research forecast models are more accurate when there is a greater number of meteorological observations. The Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay program is made up of over 3,500 aircraft and includes 40 commercial airlines, which normally provide over 700,000 meteorological reports a day, according to research.

According to research, when forecast were compared to the accuracy of weather forecasts in previous years in the time frame of March-May 2020 to the same time frame in 2017, 2018 and 2019, research found that 2020 forecasts were less accurate in some areas.

The was an exception in Western Europe where forecast there remained accurate according to studies. Researchers suspect that this may because they have a large network of ground based weather observing stations and balloon measurements to account for the lack of aircraft data.

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