Home United States USA — Science Weather forecasts are less accurate because of Covid-19, a new study reveals

Weather forecasts are less accurate because of Covid-19, a new study reveals


As the US heads into peak hurricane season, a reduction in commercial airline flights due to Covid-19 has significantly impacted our ability to accurately forecast the weather.
The research examined weather forecasts from March 2020 and compared them to actual observed weather in the same time frame.
“It is the temperature forecast where accuracy went down,” says Chen. Patterns of hot and cold air are critical in hurricane formation and prediction. If temperatures cannot be tracked accurately, it could be more challenging to identify hotspots early on.
The forecasts that meteorologists create for hurricanes rely in part on computer models. These models are only as good as the data that is put into them.
This data comes from a variety of tools, including aircraft, cruise ships, satellites, buoys, weather balloons, ground stations, and radar. The Covid-19 outbreak has significantly reduced the amount of data we get from two of those tools — aircraft and cruises.
More importantly, meteorologists find themselves at a greater disadvantage, especially over water, where these observation tools are already limited. Over land, they can just launch extra weather balloons or add additional ground stations to help make up the loss of flight data.
But they can’t do that over water. Buoys are unevenly distributed and are notorious for data errors. These floating devices alone can’t provide a complete and accurate picture of a particular region of the ocean. Meteorologists need the combination of all available tools to accurately understand the state of the atmosphere across the globe at a given point in time.
How it affects forecasts
This is especially critical in a year forecast to have a very active hurricane season. The data that feeds into hurricane forecast models has already been significantly reduced.

Continue reading...