Wednesday, Aug 05, 2020 | Last Update : 10:59 PM IST

133rd Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra45795629935616142 Tamil Nadu2682852087844349 Andhra Pradesh176333956251604 Karnataka145830692722704 Delhi1391561252264033 Uttar Pradesh100310572711817 West Bengal80984568841785 Telangana6894649675563 Gujarat65704485612529 Bihar6203140760349 Assam4816233429115 Rajasthan4667932832732 Haryana3779631226448 Odisha3768124483258 Madhya Pradesh3508225414912 Kerala279561629988 Jammu and Kashmir2239614856417 Punjab1901512491462 Jharkhand140705199129 Chhatisgarh10109761369 Uttarakhand8008484795 Goa7075511460 Tripura5520367528 Puducherry4147253758 Manipur301818147 Himachal Pradesh2879171013 Nagaland24056594 Arunachal Pradesh179011053 Chandigarh120671520 Meghalaya9173305 Sikkim7832971 Mizoram5022820
  Science   02 Jul 2020  Scientists use weather forecasting technique to predict COVID-19 spread

Scientists use weather forecasting technique to predict COVID-19 spread

PTI
Published : Jul 2, 2020, 2:30 pm IST
Updated : Jul 2, 2020, 2:30 pm IST

This technique is usually used to pair computer simulations with real weather observations to forecast future weather, the researchers said

A man wearing a protective face mask as a precaution against the spread of the new coronavirus walks along a street after a shower. (AP)
 A man wearing a protective face mask as a precaution against the spread of the new coronavirus walks along a street after a shower. (AP)

London: Scientists have employed methods normally used to forecast weather to predict how rapidly COVID-19 could spread in different countries as lockdown is eased, as well as assess the effectiveness of measures put in place.

An international team, including meteorologists from the University of Reading in the UK, applied data assimilation, a technique that combines multiple sources of information to estimate how a situation will develop over time, to the pandemic.

 

The study, submitted to the journal Foundations of Data Science, suggests it is possible to make reasonably accurate predictions of how easing measures might affect the spread of the virus up to two weeks in advance.

This technique is usually used to pair computer simulations with real weather observations to forecast future weather, the researchers said.

"A key result from this work is that we can estimate accurately how the reproductive (R) number varies in time in response to implementing or loosing up various mitigation measures," said Professor Geir Evensen, from the NORCE: Norwegian Research Centre, who led the study.

R number is the number of people a person with COVID-19 is likely to infect.

 

Previous computer model forecasts can be tested against the subsequent weather data to help make future short-term predictions more accurate, the researchers said.

When applied to the novel coronavirus, observations including hospital admissions, the number of patients in intensive care, and the number of daily deaths can be combined with models calculating risk of vulnerability, exposure, infection and death, according to the researchers.

"Most data is uncertain to some degree, but combining as much of it as possible from different sources can iron out some of this uncertainty when predicting future events," said Javier Amezcua, one of three Reading scientists that worked on the study.

 

"Meteorologists use this method all the time to understand and forecast natural processes like weather, but its uses extend beyond that," Amezcua said.

The study allows estimations to be made of how situations will develop in different scenarios, and can be used to create longer-term forecasts, the researchers said.

This means it could be useful to predict the impact changes of lockdown policies, such as reopening schools and shops or increasing permitted socialising, might have on the spread of infections, they said.

The team applied the technique to estimate coronavirus spread in eight different countries around the world -- England, France, the Netherlands, Norway, the US, Canada, Brazil and Argentina -- which have all seen the virus spread in different ways.

 

Tags: weather forecasting technique, coronavirus, covid-19, virus spread