Friday, March 27th 2020, 2:02 pm - Access to a powerful suite of weather data could be the key for researchers to unlock any connection between weather and the spread of coronavirus
Is there a connection between COVID-19 and weather? Do temperature and humidity affect its viability or impact its spread? Weather data may be the key to discovering trends that could help in combating, or adapting to, this global pandemic.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, researchers are not only looking for a vaccine, but they are also attempting to understand if there are any trends in the spread. Some studies have already shown that the virus itself appears to survive longer in colder temperatures, and spreads easier when the humidity is lower. There are also early indications that warmer weather could, possibly, limit the spread of the virus.
Unfortunately, none of these findings are conclusive, however. Knowing exactly how novel coronavirus SARS-CoV2 reacts to various weather conditions may provide clues to how the pandemic may change with the shifting of the seasons.
Global climatological average temperature for December at 40°F (4°C) and lower. Credit: Weather Source OnPoint Weather.
Weather Source, a Weather Network company located outside Boston, MA, is now offering its extensive database of high-resolution weather records to researchers, free of charge, to study any possible connections.
"We opened up our weather API to any researchers who were going to be studying coronavirus, and wanted to try to understand how weather plays a role," says Mark Gibbas, CEO of Weather Source.
Weather Source's OnPoint API, or Application Programming Interface, is a special interface that allows users to access detailed weather data for use in their own applications.
"We have weather history, hour by hour, day by day, up to current time and continuing into the forecast," Gibbas says. "This is really powerful for researchers if they want to understand how weather might be impacting the transmission of diseases."
Observed daily average temperature (°F) in Wuhan, China, from September 1, 2019, to March 8, 2020. Credit: Weather Source OnPoint Weather.
According to the Weather Source blog: As connections between weather and the COVID-19 pandemic emerge, Weather Source seeks to do our part in mitigating disease transmission. To this end, we are offering free access to our OnPoint API for academic and public sector researchers who are actively working to understand the relationship between COVID-19 and weather.
"I believe our dataset can be a valuable tool for the many research institutions working around the clock to contain the spread of this threatening virus," Gibbas said in the blog entry. "Weather Source is here to support their efforts in any way possible."
Researchers interested in using Weather Source weather and climate data to study COVID-19 can request access via the Weather Source website, selecting "research usage" in the application form.
Sources: Weather Source | With files from The Weather Network
Teaser graphic courtesy Weather Source and The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)