“The spread of different viruses is affected by all elements of the weather, including sunshine, temperature, rain and humidity,” said Sándor Szegedi, the head of the Department of Meteorology at the University of Debrecen.
In his announcement, Sándor Szegedi explained to Hirado that since the purpose of viruses is to enter the human body and reproduce in it, they are only able to survive in roughly similar weather conditions as the one provided by its host. Therefore, viruses spread more effectively in a closed, weather-independent space, than in the open air, where they are exposed to numerous effects.
Mild weather has helped coronavirus to spread.
“According to scientists, temperatures between 0 and 20 degrees Celsius are the most optimal for viruses. The mild climate of Wuhan in Hubei Province, the assumed starting point of the current coronavirus pandemic, and the smog typical of Chinese metropolises created ideal conditions for the outbreak. Viruses can travel long distances by adhering to the floating aerosol particles in the smog, and when the coronavirus arrived in Europe, the mild but gloomy weather also favoured its spread,” Szegedi said.
He added that temperatures well below freezing point and extremely high humidity (around 90%) could greatly reduce the spread of the virus.
Rain can help wash out viruses from the air, but wind acts as a double-edged sword since it can blow disease-causing particles up to tens of meters.
The head of the Department of Meteorology reported that direct sunlight can be considered the biggest enemy of the current COVID−19 pandemic because ultraviolet rays have bactericidal and antiviral effects.
“During the following weeks, because of the longer periods of sunshine and the high position of the sun, the efficiency of sunlight will further improve which may inhibit the coronavirus from settling down on sunlit surfaces,” added Szegedi.
As István Lázár, the employee of the Department of Meteorology pointed out, the current coronavirus pandemic also affects weather forecasting.
In addition to radiosondes and other weather balloons, commercial flights also help to collect data. They measure during take-off and landing, on the runway and at their cruising altitude. These measurements significantly influence the accuracy of forecasts, especially in changeable weather situations.
According to the data of EUMETNET (a network of European Meteorological Services), the 70% reduction in air traffic caused by the coronavirus pandemic has reduced the rate of incoming data from commercial aircraft (a plural is aircraft) to 40%. Lázár further added that based on the simulations of the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the accuracy of weather reports without these aircraft measurements that forecast for the next 12 hours dropped by 10−15% in the Northern Hemisphere at altitudes between 7 and 16 kilometres. The setback was less significant in the Southern Hemisphere as air traffic was not as heavy there.