Lack of climate forecasting, another collateral damage of Covid-19 for tourism
The cancellation of flights as a result of the health crisis has generated the severe loss of up to 90% of meteorological data at the time that the tourism industry needs it most
The consequences of climate change on tourism, especially in coastal areas, mountainous destinations and small islands is one of the greatest challenges the industry has faced in history. Experts even warn that the flow of tourists in these areas could decrease with the consequent loss of jobs.
Fortunately, a trend of sustainability has emerged that drives the reduction of emissions and that poses changes in its operation to guarantee the future of the environments and the safety of travelers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that the health of the planet is in our hands. As António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, recently indicated, "now more than ever solidarity and the ambition to move towards a sustainable, resilient and low-carbon economy is necessary."
Knowing the climate and having the best possible forecast has become one of the fundamental aspects for the industry as it allows programming the seasons and being able to develop contingency plans in the event of catastrophes that may occur.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the World Meteorological Organization have signed an agreement to increase and improve the automated reporting of meteorological data by commercial aircraft.
The new initiative, called the WMO-IATA AMDAR Collaborative Program (WICAP), aims to expand the WMO Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay (AMDAR) system to ensure coverage in data-poor areas. It is expected to add many additional partner airlines to the program, which is already supported by approximately 40 airlines and covers several thousand passenger and cargo aircraft.
“One of the many unfortunate aspects of the COVID-19 crisis has been the severe loss, of up to 90%, of meteorological data derived from aircraft as a result of the sharp decline in airline operations and passenger flights. since March 2020, ”he said. WMO Secretary General, Professor Petteri Taalas.
With international demand falling by almost 90%, airlines have parked thousands of planes, mostly long-haul, and shifted their operations to short-haul flights whenever possible.
"Weather services and other data providers have tried to compensate for this loss, but there has been a measurable negative impact on the accuracy of weather forecasts as a result of the reductions in AMDAR data," said Professor Taalas.
"Safety is aviation's highest priority and ensuring that airlines and other safety stakeholders have access to the most comprehensive and reliable weather forecast data is vital to achieving this," said Alexandre de Juniac, Managing Director and CEO. of IATA.
“It is important that by rebuilding and reestablishing their operations, airlines can take advantage of all available costs and operational efficiencies. One of those efficiencies can be derived from the improved use of better quality weather forecasts and other meteorological information that results from the improved availability of AMDAR data, ”de Juniac said.
The AMDAR observing system produces more than 800,000 high-quality observations per day of air temperature and wind speed and direction, along with the required positional and temporal information, and with an ever-increasing number of humidity measurements and turbulence.
This information is provided to meteorological agencies and computerized weather forecasting systems. These, in turn, support the generation of meteorological and forecasting services products for aviation.
The AMDAR system has made a positive contribution and improved weather forecasting. These are vital to the efficiency and safety of airlines and aviation in an era where the industry is striving to make flying more sustainable and limit its contribution to climate change.
As part of the new collaboration with WICAP, the WMO community will take on the role of establishing a regional operational framework for the receipt and processing of data. IATA will be responsible for promoting airline participation in the program and will help coordinate technical solutions for data transmission, while protecting the ownership of data by airlines.