COVID-19 Pandemic Imperils Weather Forecast

Chen, Ying (2020) COVID-19 Pandemic Imperils Weather Forecast. Geophysical Research Letters, 47 (15): e2020GL088. ISSN 0094-8276

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Weather forecasts play essential parts in economic activity. Assimilation of meteorological observations from aircraft improves forecasts greatly. However, global lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic (March-May 2020) has eliminated 50-75% aircraft observations and imperils weather forecasting. Here, we verify global forecasts against reanalysis to quantify the impact of the pandemic. We find a large deterioration in forecasts of surface meteorology over regions with busy air flights, such as North America, southeast China and Australia. Forecasts over remote regions are also substantially worse during March-May 2020 than 2017-2019, and the deterioration increases for longer-term forecasts. This could handicap early warning of extreme weather and cause additional economic damage on the top of that from the pandemic. The impact over Western Europe is buffered by the high density of conventional observations, suggesting that introduction of new observations in data-sparse regions would be needed to minimize the impact of global emergencies on weather forecasts.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Geophysical Research Letters
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? covid-19 pandemicweather forecastaircraftassimilationaccuracygeophysicsearth and planetary sciences(all) ??
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Deposited On:
16 Jul 2020 16:10
Last Modified:
08 May 2024 00:14