The recent Coronavirus pandemic strains human resources from meteorological systems; Covid-19 Coronavirus Ruins Weather Forecasts and Meteorological Data.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) expressed concern in their announcement on May 7th about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the quantity and quality of meteorological observations and forecasts, as well as on monitoring the atmosphere and climate.
“Climate change continues to have an impact and the number of climate related disasters is increasing. The Covid-19 pandemic represents an additional challenge, “said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
According to this Geneva-based UN agency, the new Covid-19 decrease meteorological data gathering and analysis functions around the world. “Therefore, it is essential that governments pay attention to national early warning and climate monitoring capabilities despite this crisis,” Taalas said.
In general, it is the WMO Global Observation System that supports all meteorological and climate services and products offered by the 193 WMO Member States and territories to their citizens. This system transmits observations of the state of the atmosphere and the surface of the oceans collected by terrestrial, maritime and satellite instruments. This data is used to develop analyses, forecasts, warnings and weather alerts.
In this system, entire sections of the observation system, such as satellite components and many terrestrial networks, are partially or fully automated, as mentioned in their News (April). Therefore, they should continue to function without significant degradation for several weeks, or even longer in some cases.
Meanwhile, some components of the observation system have already been affected. The significant reduction in air traffic, in particular, had obvious repercussions. In-flight measurements of ambient temperature and wind speed and direction are a very important source of information for both weather forecasting and climate monitoring.
In some parts of the world, the number of measurements has decreased dramatically in the past two weeks. AMDAR generally reports more than 700,000 high-quality daily observations of air temperature and wind speed and direction, along with the required time and location data and an increasing number of humidity and turbulence measurements.
Currently the system includes, 16 meteorological satellites, 50 research satellites, more than 10,000 surface meteorological stations, automatic or manned, 1,000 aerological stations, 7,000 ships, 100 buoys anchored and 1,000 buoys adrift, hundreds of weather radars and 3,000 commercial aircrafts specially equipped with measurement journals related to the atmosphere, land and ocean surface.
“We appreciate their commitment to protecting lives and property, but we are aware of the increasing capacity and resource constraints they face,” said Taalas.
At the moment, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) believes that this lack of observations should have a relatively modest impact on the quality of weather forecast products. However, the continued and amplified decrease in meteorological observations from aircraft could lead to a gradual decrease in forecast reliability.
While in most developed countries surface weather observations are now almost fully automated, in many developing countries the transition to automated observations is not complete.
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