The sudden dropoff in passenger air traffic across the world in response to the coronavirus threat will likely have an impact on the computer models that guide day-to-day weather forecasting.
It seems like the coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting every aspect of life these days, from work and school to eating out and travel. When it comes to travel by air a significant number of airlines have grounded flights worldwide due to low demand.
There has been a 42% reduction between March 1 to 23 in the number of aircraft reports received all over the world, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) said.
While it is unclear exactly how this lack of weather data may impact the skill of various computer models to predict future weather, what is clear is we are facing a decreased amount of airplanes flying for several weeks to come as various global economies struggle to get back on track. The lack of upper air observations could lower the forecasting skill of many computer models well into the summer. It’s just one of the many unknowns that we face as the world deals with COVID-19.