Drop in flights during Covid hitting weather reports as forecasters use data collected by airliners

Drop in flights during Covid crisis is hitting weather reports as forecasters use data collected by commercial airliners

  • Meteorologists rely on weather data collected by airlines to inform their forecast
  • Study shows forecasts made between March and May up to 2C less accurate
  • The data recorded by planes includes the temperature at various altitudes

Weather reports are less reliable because of the number of planes grounded due to the pandemic, research has revealed.

Meteorologists rely on weather data collected by commercial airlines to inform their forecasts, but fewer flights mean they have less information to base their predictions on. 

The data recorded by planes includes the temperature and conditions at various altitudes.

Meteorologists rely on weather data collected by commercial airlines to inform their forecasts, but fewer flights mean they have less information to base their predictions on (file image)

Meteorologists rely on weather data collected by commercial airlines to inform their forecasts, but fewer flights mean they have less information to base their predictions on (file image)

A study has shown that forecasts made between March and May were up to 2C less accurate than ones made in February, when airlines were still running their full schedules.

Dr Ying Chen, the senior research associate at the University of Lancaster who carried out the study, said: ‘In February, let’s say, we have 100 per cent [of flights operating]. And then in March we go down by half. And April we go down by another half.

‘So currently, possibly, we just have one quarter of aircraft running. So you can imagine the gap of observations.’

Dr Chen also warned that tropical storms will have to be watched closely, saying: ‘My study shows less reliable pressure forecasts – this could impact the forecast of monsoon and hurricane development.

‘The question is how large the impact on future climate analysis will be.’

Dr Ying Chen, the senior research associate at the University of Lancaster, also warned that tropical storms will have to be watched closely (file image used)

Dr Ying Chen, the senior research associate at the University of Lancaster, also warned that tropical storms will have to be watched closely (file image used) 

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This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk