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Weather Wednesday: How the Coronavirus is impacting weather models

Weather Wednesday

Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) – During the COVID-19 outbreak, fewer planes graced the skies as travel bans were put in place. Up front, travel was impacted, but that wasn’t the only thing suffering from grounded planes. Weather models that forecasters use have a reason to see impacts from fewer flights.

Onboard aircrafts are sensors, computers and communication devices that collect data from the atmosphere and send it to stations on the ground. With the opportunity to gather data, the World Meteorological Organization created a program called, Aircraft Meteorological Data Rely. This program collects hundreds of thousands of data observations a day from flights all over the globe.

This is important as the collected observations are inputted into weather computer models and calculated by powerful computers. The result is a weather map predicting future forecast outcomes. With fewer data observations, model forecasting could slightly slip in accuracy. Fear not, as data can be collected through satellites and other instruments.

Overall, the StormTracker 6 forecast won’t slip in accuracy as the Weather Team uses multiple forecasting methods. Fewer planes does mean less pollution, but also means impacts on model forecasting.

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