Decrease in Flights Could Impact Weather Forecasts

The impacts of COVID-19 are far reaching and even affecting weather forecasts around the country.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Airplanes collect important weather data everyday around the world.

The data is directly uploaded into weather models and those weather models are what meteorologists use to make a forecast.

As more and more flights are grounded the amount of weather data is drastically decreasing and directly affecting the accuracy of weather models around the world.

One of the weather models that has been impacted is the European model (ECMWF). This model is known by forecasters as being the most accurate numerical weather model in the world.

Dr. Florence Rabier, Director General at ECMWF says "the data collected by aircraft is the second most important source of weather data compared to satellite data."

AMDAR (Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay) on average collects 700,000 weather observations each day.

That number has drastically decreased by close to 80 percent in parts of the world.

The ECMWF estimates that this loss of data could result in the European computer model suffering as much as a 15 percent decline in accuracy.

Some meteorological organizations around the world are attempting to curb this issues by launching weather balloons more frequently and other remote sensing techniques.

Contact Us