Travel News

‘Likely a death penalty’: Officials fear cold weather is more risky for homeless people than virus

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – For weeks after opening a day shelter for the homeless, Jae Bennett was pretty rigid about the building’s 37-person capacity. The last thing he wanted was a lack of social distancing to cause the deadly coronavirus to spread among a population in which many were in fragile health.

But then temperatures in Kansas City, Missouri plunged into single-digit numbers just over a week ago and stayed there, the coldest arctic blast of the season. And Mr. Bennett looked into the eyes of the people who were waiting outside because the stocky brown building was full.

“I said, ‘Go on, just walked in,’ said Bennett, who founded a nonprofit, Street Medicine Kansas City, six years ago. “What’s the option? Follow the Covid health code, or put them in the cold and let them die? “

Cold weather and the country’s homelessness crisis have long been a fatal mix that community advocates and officials have struggled to resolve. But this winter, the coronavirus added a dangerous new complication as cities and community groups struggle to keep members of a vulnerable population safe from the elements without exposing them to an airborne virus that spreads more easily indoors.

The math has taken on greater urgency in recent days as arctic weather freezes much of mid-country from Minnesota to Texas with wind chills expected to dip to minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit in some places.

Officials in Ramsey County, Minnesota, which includes St. Paul, have set up shelters in a vacant hospital and a vacant seminary dormitory to better keep homeless residents away from each other. Chicago officials have used old school buildings as well as Salvation Army and YMCA premises to give service providers more space for shelter beds. New Life Center, a non-profit rescue mission in Fargo, ND, equipped an abandoned warehouse to expand its shelter capacity. And in Kansas City, where forecasts call for a low of minus 14 degrees on Monday, officials have converted the downtown convention center – the size of eight football fields – to a shelter.

With the closure of public spaces like libraries and the dining rooms of many fast food restaurants, homeless people have fewer places to warm up during the day or use the bathroom. Traditional shelters have had to reduce their capacity for social distancing.

At the same time, city leaders and advocates say the economic destruction of the pandemic has led to an increase in the number of people needing services for the homeless. While there is little solid data to prove that more people have become homeless in the past year, these leaders and advocates say the anecdotal evidence is clear.

Officials from the Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness have seen formerly homeless customers return to the streets, said Marqueia Watson, the executive director. They also saw many new names on the shelter lists. And, Ms Watson said, social service providers have told them their phones are ringing nonstop with people who need things like rent and help with utilities.

“We all see the warning signs of doom that we look for when we talk about homelessness prevention,” she said.

Kansas City typically spends $ 1.5 million a year on homeless services, according to a city spokesperson. But this year, with help from federal relief funds, he plans to spend $ 8.5 million on programs that include paying for hotel rooms to house families and providing financial assistance to avoid evictions.

At the request of local activists, city officials opened a temporary shelter, with a capacity of 65 people, in a community center in mid-January. The number of people showing up quickly exceeded that number and city leaders had a tough call to pass.

“We made a collective decision to say, ‘Look, if any of these people were to spend the night on the streets, it’s probably a death sentence,’ said Brian Platt, the city manager. “If they get inside and there is a possibility of spreading or catching the Covid virus, there is a higher chance that they could experience that.”

They therefore allowed the refuge to operate above capacity.

This worried Anton Washington, a community organizer who helped lead efforts to urge the city to open the temporary shelter.

“It can’t happen,” Washington reminded city officials, concerned about a Covid-19 outbreak as neighborhoods grew increasingly crowded. He urged the city leaders to find a bigger place.

The city has seen some minor outbreaks in shelters and among the homeless. Nationally, sporadic outbreaks have led to clusters of dozens of infections, although the requirements for testing and reporting cases among the homeless population have not been as stringent as for many. other groups, such as nursing home residents and inmates.

After San Diego officials opened a shelter at a convention center last spring, very few residents tested positive in the next few months. But after Thanksgiving, more than 150 residents tested positive, indicating how quickly and spontaneously the virus can spread in shelters.

By the end of January, demand was so high that Kansas City officials moved the shelter from the community center to the convention center, Bartle Hall, and named it after Scott Eicke, a man from 41 year old who lived on the streets and was found frozen to death on New Years Day. The convention center’s population quickly grew from 150 to over 300 on Thursday, less than two weeks after it opened.

The shelter couldn’t have opened soon enough for Celestria Gilyard, who was evicted from her two-bedroom apartment in October after her landlord lost her Section 8 refunds for failing to make the repairs. Ms Gilyard, a waitress whose livelihood was wiped out by the pandemic as she received fewer positions and tips, couldn’t afford a deposit on a new apartment and bounced back between living on the streets and with relatives and friends.

Mr Bennett, the founder of Street Medicine, spoke to Ms Gilyard, 48, about the town shelter, and she has been sleeping there since mid-January.

“They’re trying to get us in every night and make sure we’re not cold,” said Ms Gilyard, whose 12-year-old son lives with relatives. “When we knock on the door they ask us, do we want snacks, hot chocolate, coffee? And they really satisfy us to the point that I feel that every homeless person really has to embrace that.

Ms Gilyard leaves her crib at the immaculately made-up convention center when she leaves each morning, with a burgundy blanket draped over it, propped pillows, and chairs on either side serving as nightstands.

The experience was so comfortable that concerns about the coronavirus are secondary to her.

Each person’s temperature is checked upon entering. Masks are mandatory. Cribs are spaced in neat rows in a light and airy room with polished concrete floors and high rafters that give the feel of an airplane hangar. Officials plan to start offering Covid-19 testing on site.

Colorful posters are stuck on a wall with handwritten messages: “We want jobs and training.” “Housing, not handcuffs.” “We have the power.”

While the city provides the space, the shelter is run by activists and community organizations. They shaped it not only as a place to sleep at night, but as a hub where homeless people can get the services they need and organize and advocate for systemic changes to end homelessness. .

“Basically a shelter is a problem,” said Troy Robertson, 27, a community organizer who has lived on the streets intermittently since the age of 16.

City officials were to “find us a space that we can call ours for temporary or permanent housing,” he added, standing in the shelter, where he volunteers. “Just shelter for the night, paying all that money to say, ‘Oh, we can house these people at night’ and leave us out in the morning, that’s not fair to me.

This fleeting feeling of shelter kept Fahri Korkmaz on the streets a few days ago, in single-digit temperatures and a biting wind that numbed fingers in 10 minutes. He was not interested in temporary relief, he said, but a place that offers services to help him get back on his feet. He had heard of the convention center shelter, but was unaware that it offered services, highlighting the challenge officials face in getting the message out to the homeless population.

Mr Korkmaz, 45, was released from prison a few years ago and has lived on the streets since his car broke down five months ago. He was worried about catching an illness from a shelter – although Covid-19 was not a big concern, he said. He also didn’t want to leave his personal belongings unattended as he feared they might be stolen.

So, on that recent cold afternoon, he sat in a gray dome tent under an interstate viaduct. Dressed in a black hoodie, red jacket and snow pants, he wrapped himself in three blankets and smoked a cigarette. He warmed himself by lighting scented candles when he was awake and curling up to use his body heat when he slept.

Still, Mr Korkmaz, from Turkey, admitted that there might be a limit to what he could take. If temperatures were to drop as low as expected, he said, he might have to give in and take shelter.

“I mean, if I don’t go I’m stupid, you know what I mean?” he said. “If I lose my hands and my feet, it’s like self-suicide, self-destruction.

Mitch Smith contributed reporting.

Travel News

Forecast: wild weather in a warming world

A harsh winter is spreading across the United States, with extremely cold air hitting the northeast and snowstorms expected along the east coast next week.

Forecasts predict that Chicago can expect several inches of snow. Six to eight inches of snow could fall along the I-95 corridor from Washington to New York and up to Boston on Monday and Tuesday.

“Finally, winter has made its appearance here in the northeast,” said Greg Carbin, chief forecasting operations for the National Weather Service’s weather forecasting center.

Disturbances from upper atmosphere phenomena known as the polar vortex can send icy explosions from the Arctic to mid-latitudes, cooling Europe, Asia, and parts of North America. The disturbance and its effects have persisted for an unusually long time this year, said Jennifer Francis, senior scientist at the Woodwell Climate Research Center, with two polar vortex disturbances so far this year and, potentially, a third underway.

Research into the interplay of complex factors that cause polar vortex explosions is ongoing, but climate change appears to be part of the mix. While warming means milder winters overall, “the motto of snowstorms in the climate change era might be” go big or go home! ” said Judah Cohen, director of seasonal forecasts at Atmospheric and Environmental Research, a company that provides information to customers about weather and climate risks.

The United States has already experienced heavy snowfall in the Sierra Nevada and the Great Plains last week. Earlier this month, Madrid was buried under a foot and a half of crippling snow, and parts of Siberia suffered an unusually long cold spell with temperatures 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit – and an area has recorded a temperature of nearly 73 below. (Last summer, some of the same areas experienced record heat.)

Wild weather has its origins in the warming arctic. The region is warming faster than the rest of the planet, and research suggests that rising temperatures are weakening the jet stream, which encircles the pole and generally retains this freezing air. In early January, a sudden wave of warming hit the polar stratosphere, the area five to thirty miles above the planet’s surface.

When one of these “sudden stratospheric warmings” occurs, it punches the polar vortex that can cause arctic air to move and its way through the atmosphere to people who suddenly need to. overlap and take out their shovels.

Amy Butler, a researcher at the NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory, offered an analogy: “Imagine a bowl of swirling water or a cup of coffee you’ve just brewed. If you suddenly put a spoon in the water and block the swirling flow just above it will start to slow down or disturb the water below.

While the scientific evidence supporting climate change is indisputable, the link between climate change and disturbances in the stratosphere is not as established. Dr Cohen was the author of an article published last year in the journal Nature Climate Change, which examined winter data from 2008 to 2018. The team saw a sharp increase in winter storms in the Northeast over the course of of the previous decade. “Harsh winter conditions are much more common when the Arctic is at its hottest,” said Dr. Cohen.

Dr Butler, however, said that in the whole historical record, which dates back to 1958, “there is no indication of a long-term trend” in disturbances from polar eddies. The weather patterns that affect the vortex “occur naturally even in the absence of climate change,” some decades showing no disturbance and other decades with almost every year.

For Dr Francis, senior researcher at the Woodwell Climate Research Center, the influence of climate change on these phenomena is inevitable, though still somewhat mysterious. “We are changing the planet in a dramatic and indisputable way,” she said. “The atmosphere is different now. The surface of the Earth is different now. The oceans are different now. So there must be connections that are yet to be discovered as we deepen our research into the stratospheric polar vortex.

However, it is becoming clear what will happen in the next few days, especially in the northeast, but it is difficult to predict precisely where the snow will fall and how deep.

“The cold is coming anyway,” said Dr. Cohen, “and someone’s got snow.

Travel News

What the dry winter weather can tell us


This week, more than a quarter of a million people were without power as powerful Santa Ana winds roared through parts of central and southern California. The winds were perhaps the strongest the state had seen in 20 years.

After the worst wildfire season in history and in the midst of a dry winter, parts of the Santa Cruz Mountains where the CZU lightning complex fire burned over the summer have resumed and more ‘a hundred residents were evacuated.

Strong winds also forced the two-day closure of the Disneyland vaccination site in Orange County and damaged roads and buildings in Yosemite National Park.

Global warming has caused the wildfire season, which typically peaks in late summer, to become a year round affair in recent years. Forest fires in January may well be the new normal. Here’s what the unusual weather means and what it could portend for the months to come.

This season has been exceptionally dry. Scientists at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography looked at how much precipitation has fallen and how much is likely to fall in the coming months. In early January, they found that the chances of California achieving normal precipitation this year were only about 20 percent.

If we miss the December or January window, it can really set us back, ”said F. Martin Ralph, director of the university’s Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes.

As Dr Ralph explained, Western states get some of their rainfall for the year in just a few big storms. These storms, called atmospheric rivers, carry huge amounts of water from the ocean to inland areas.

The size and frequency of atmospheric rivers make the difference between what will be a normal season or a season filled with drought or catastrophic flooding.

“The biggest storms, how they vary from year to year, largely determines whether or not we are in a drought or a flood,” said Dr Ralph.

Right now, we need one of these great storms.

Dr Ralph said there could be substantial atmospheric riverine activity in the days and weeks to come, particularly in the upstate.

Climate change makes extreme weather conditions even more extreme. California has a climate characterized by alternating extremes – drought and flooding. And it’s already one of the most flood-prone states in the country, though it’s also one of the driest.

Climate models for the coming years show that the number of dry days will increase, but also the wettest days each year will become even wetter.

“The wettest of the rainy days. Well, these are the days of the big floods, ”said Dr Ralph.

And if heavy rains during a drought are welcome, we have to be careful what we wish for. Floods from atmospheric rivers can be devastating. Dr Ralph found that over a 40-year period, 84 percent of all flood damage in the western United States came from atmospheric river events, accounting for billions of dollars in damage.

As every week passes without the arrival of major storms, the risk of forest fires increases. “If it ends up being that we don’t have rain in March or April in Southern California, that’s a serious problem,” Dr. Ralph said.

Another thing that can affect the outlook for wildfires this year is the distribution of storms – whether they are spread over a long rainy season or concentrated into a few tightly timed events.

Less rain increases the risk of fire, but if the rainy periods are getting closer to the start of the wildfire season, it could be a good thing.

“If we get even a little less rain than normal, but there is some kind of wet period later in the spring, it may help to remove the risk of forest fires later in the summer than the normal, ”said Dr Ralph.

But for now, there is a more immediate need for a good soak.

“With each passing week, if we don’t get rain and snow, it will be harder and harder to catch up,” he said.

(This article is part of California today newsletter. Register to have it delivered to your inbox.)

Imagine having a dance party with friends, hugging a relative, or enjoying a meal in a restaurant again. It could, experts say, get you out of a funk.

My colleague Tariro Mzezewa has written about how imagining a better future helps humans cope with difficult times.

Jordan Firstman, a television writer who found a celebrity this year impersonating Instagram, fantasizes about a day that begins with “a 20-person breakfast at a restaurant, inside“Followed by an orgy, dinner, live theater, warehouse party and clubbing” until 6am, “he said. “Then we’ll go see ‘Wicked’ at 8 am because we didn’t have enough theater the night before. We want more theater. “

What is your fantasy at the end of the pandemic, regardless of today’s date?

[Read the full article here.]

California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. PT on weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: Have you been forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here and read each edition online here.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from UC Berkeley and has reported statewide, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles – but she always wants to see more. Follow us here or on Twitter.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from UC Berkeley.

Travel News

Video: ‘It’s Beautiful’: New York receives its biggest snowfall in years

TimesVideo ‘It’s Beautiful’: New York receives biggest snowfall in years New York received its heaviest snowfall in years after a storm hit the northeast on Wednesday and Thursday. The National Weather Service recorded 10 inches of precipitation in Central Park. Upstate, Binghamton scored 41 by Reuters and The Associated Press.

Travel News

Outdoor learning in windy weather

This summer, teachers rolled up their t-shirt sleeves and decided to prepare an outdoor learning plan. A teacher from Wisconsin worked with her students to build a 12-sided outdoor classroom. A school in New York ran rooftop classes. A district superintendent in Maine purchased all the Adirondack chairs she could find.

But now, less than a month before the winter solstice, it’s cold. Some days it rains. Other days there is snow. And often the elements pose a big challenge to learning outdoors.

Many outdoor schools loosely follow the Iowa Department of Public Health’s child care weather monitoring guidelines, which suggest that children can be outdoors indefinitely when the temperature is above 32 degrees and that the winds are less than 15 miles per hour. Children should be more closely supervised in lower temperatures or with stronger winds. And below 13 degrees, according to the guidelines, young children should stay indoors, while older ones can only be outdoors briefly.

Many schools did not have the time, or the funding, to plan for the unexpected, Melinda Wenner Moyer reported for The Times. But people got creative. Here are some strategies that might work to keep students in nature longer.

  • Speed ​​exchanges: To overcome winter clothing shortages, many schools have organized clothing drives, where parents can swap out old coats and cold-weather accessories.

  • A boost snack: The Juniper Hill School in Alna, Maine, which has long embraced outdoor learning, offers hot tea. The school also advises parents to pack extra snacks (for energy) and isolated, hot meals (to warm up) on colder days.

  • Hot water bottles: It works for students at Monadnock Waldorf School in Keene, NH. “They’re just going to put them on in their snow pants and go hiking with their hearts warm,” said Nell Wiener, program manager. Just be sure to wrap the rubber in fabric so it doesn’t burn their skin.

  • Make them tremble: Go on an expedition or try kinetic learning. “If I think the kids are cold, I just put them to work. We’ll be stacking firewood, ”said Adrienne Hofmann, early childhood director for Juniper Hill.

  • Layers, layers, layers: For indoor wear, wool is better than cotton because it “can get wet and still keep you warm,” said Matthew Schlein, founder of the Walden Project public school program in Vergennes, Vermont. For outer layers and mittens, consider waterproofing.

And don’t forget: it’s normal for the first cold spells of each year to be difficult. “It takes a long time for children to be like, ‘Oh, my hands are so cold, I can’t use them. That’s why I should wear my mittens, ”said Hofmann. And when it’s too windy, there’s nothing wrong with a backup plan.

“If we didn’t plan to go above 12 degrees at noon, then we would have a distant day,” Wiener said.

In the days leading up to the chaotic closure of New York’s public schools last week, parents who had kept their children at home also had to decide whether they wanted to switch to in-person learning for the rest of the school year. .

Unsurprisingly, only 35,000 more children in New York City chose to return to class. When and if the city reopens the school, less than a third of New York’s 1.1 million public school students will learn in the classroom.

The anemic response is another challenge for Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has repeatedly stated that he has a mandate from parents to reopen schools, despite a bitter debate between parents, educators and city hall.

For more on this story, check out our colleague Eliza Shapiro’s segment on The Daily, which includes an interview with de Blasio.

  • the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa may require its students and staff to return to campus in January. Only those who have a medical excuse would be exempt.

  • The coach of Miami University football team, Manny Diaz, has tested positive for the coronavirus.

  • the Charleston College has chosen to maintain its grading policy, despite calls from students for an optional pass-fail system during the pandemic.

  • Students of University of Delaware are coming home for the Thanksgiving vacation. But about 1,050 students plan to return to campus to complete the semester, Patrick LaPorte reported for The Review, the student newspaper.

  • George Washington University may continue to lay off staff, despite the benchmark shifting several times over when the university announced it would complete the process, Zach Schonfeld reported for The GW Hatchet, the student newspaper.

  • A student voice: “I am much less motivated than I think during my two previous years”, Kansas University said Sophia Misle, a reporter for the University Daily Kansan, the student newspaper.

  • A good read: Matt Cohen, Colin Kulpa, and Vivek Rao took a close look at The Indiana Daily Student to find out how Indiana University in Bloomington has resisted the pandemic. The university, one of the largest in the country, is a case study of how administrators across the country coped with a chaotic semester.

We would love to continue presenting student reports on the pandemic. Please email Amelia with links.

  • Through Navajo Nation, and in other rural areas, students find it difficult to do without in-person school.

  • Two high schools in the Baltimore region canceled their annual “Turkey Bowl” football game for the first time in a century.

  • Some schools of Oklahoma began to develop their own policies, defying guidelines from the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Rhode Island, which has long pushed to keep classrooms open, will begin to allow high schools to do more distance learning.

  • An opinion: Emily Oster, professor of economics at Brown University, explored school transmission in the Washington Post: “The best available data suggests that infection rates in schools simply reflect the prevalence of Covid-19 in the surrounding community – and that tackling the spread of the community is where our efforts need to be focused. “

  • A good read: Distance learning doesn’t work for many Texas students, who fail courses at higher than normal rates. “Parents and students describe a system in which children fail, not necessarily because they don’t understand the material, but because the process of their teaching is so broken that it is difficult to succeed,” Aliyya wrote. Texas Tribune Swaby.

  • In memory: Education Week has created an online memorial for educators who have died from coronavirus or related complications.

“I can’t stop cheating on Zoom, so should I do nothing?” What is my responsibility in creating an environment where everyone is on the same evaluation plane? A teacher named Humberto B. asked The Ethicist, a Times Magazine column.

Columnist Kwame Anthony Appiah had some suggestions. Make it harder to cheat on the test. Then remind students of the immorality behind academic dishonesty.

“It’s disrespectful to your teachers, and of course, it’s unfair to other students who played by the rules, given that your work may be ranked higher than it should be,” Kwame wrote.

Sign up here to receive the briefing by email.

Travel News

Prepare for cold weather racing

If you do decide to try adding screws, Greg Haapala, Race Director of Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota, recommends trying it on old running shoes first and making sure the tips of the screws do not enter your foot. “You can just wear older shoes like your ‘screw-on shoes’, or once you know they’ll be comfortable for you, remove the screws from the old shoes and clip them to your newer ones,” he said. -he declares.

Haapala wears trail running shoes, which tend to have better traction, when running on snowy streets and sidewalks in winter. He also wears sunglasses “even though it’s not very sunny to block the winds and potentially blowing snow,” he said.

Jay Ell Alexander, owner and CEO of Black Girls RUN !, a group dedicated to getting more African American women into the race, wears disposable hand warmers, which are commonly sold in drugstores and drugstores. hardware stores. “I keep a bunch of them in the trunk of my car,” she said.

You will still need to hydrate yourself on long runs in the winter. You can carry water in a portable bottle, but this hand can cool down quickly. Instead, consider a running belt with slots for water bottles or a hydration vest. Just make sure this vest is race specific, not designed for hiking or biking.

If you always work from home and have flexibility in your home work schedule, winter running doesn’t need to be on a cold, dark morning or a cold, dark night. Midday errands can be an option, especially since your coworkers can’t tell if you’re sweaty when you return.

However, if those dark hours are still the best time for you, make sure that “you are lit up like a Christmas tree,” Loeffler said. This is especially important “when the weather is not great because most people don’t expect runners to come out,” she said. “They are not looking for you.”

Loeffler said that a simple reflective vest “feels good” as long as it’s reflective in the front and back. You can also buy lighted belts and belts, or clip-on lights (the ones that work on riders will work on you as well). She also said that her store had seen a big increase in sales of headlamps this year, which also served as lighting for the path in front of you.

Travel News

Air transport collapse hampered weather forecast, study finds

Government researchers have confirmed that the sharp drop in air traffic during the coronavirus pandemic has affected the quality of weather forecast models by sharply reducing the amount of atmospheric data regularly collected by commercial airliners.

In one study, researchers showed that when a short-term forecasting model received less data on temperature, wind and humidity from aircraft, forecasting skill (the difference between forecasted weather conditions and what had actually happened) was worse.

The researchers and others had suspected this would be the case because atmospheric observations from passenger and cargo flights are among the most important data used in forecast models. Observations are made by instruments aboard thousands of airliners, mostly based in North America and Europe, as part of a program that has been in place for decades. They are transmitted in real time to forecasting organizations around the world, including the National Weather Service.

In the first few months of the pandemic, when air traffic globally declined by 75% or more, the number of sightings dropped by roughly the same percentage.

“With every type of observation that goes into weather models, we know they have an impact on improving overall accuracy,” said one of the researchers, Stan Benjamin, principal investigator at the Global Systems Laboratory, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric. Administration, in Boulder, Colorado. “If you’ve really lost a lot of sightings, there might be a skill downturn in general.”

While researchers have shown that the loss of data helps make the model less accurate, NOAA said so far it has not seen an impact on the kind of short-term forecasts that companies use. to make business decisions or that a person could use to decide if they should take an umbrella when they go out.

“We are not directly seeing an obvious reduction in forecast accuracy as we continue to receive valuable data from passenger and freight aircraft as well as many other data sources,” said a statement from the agency. These other sources include satellites, ocean buoys, and instruments carried aloft by weather balloons.

The amount of data coming from planes has also increased in recent months with the resumption of air travel, the agency said. The daily number of passenger plane flights in the United States is now at about 50 percent of pre-pandemic levels. Cargo plane flights were not as affected.

Dr. Benjamin, along with two colleagues working in the lab, Eric P. James from the University of Colorado and Brian D. Jamison from Colorado State University, simulated conditions during the pandemic in April by taking data from 2018 and 2019 and by eliminating 80%. before feeding it into a forecast model developed by NOAA called Rapid Refresh.

They compared the resulting errors to those if the model did not contain any aircraft data.

“We had to look to see if 80% is 80% impact,” said Dr. Benjamin. “But it’s not that much. They found that removing 80 percent of the data produced errors that accounted for 30 to 60 percent of the errors that would have resulted from no data at all. The study was published in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology.

In addition, the World Meteorological Organization, which in the spring was concerned about the loss of on-board observation data, announced this week that it had signed an agreement with a group in the aviation industry to expand the program of ‘observation. to cover regions of the world where little data is currently collected.

The agreement with the International Air Transport Association calls for adding more airlines and aircraft to the program, including those with routes in Africa and other less guarded areas.

Currently, about 40 airlines are participating in the program and, in total, about 3,500 aircraft are equipped with the necessary equipment to make and transmit observations. In the United States, Delta, United, American and Southwest and United Parcel Service and FedEx freight carriers are involved.