How the Dutch government uses data to predict the weather and prepare for natural disasters
Have you ever wondered what’s behind the weather forecast TV reports? Or who is managing government satellites? Perhaps you’ve wandered across a sensor — where does that data go?
In the Netherlands, that data is collected and managed by the KNMI, or the Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut — a.k.a., the government’s meteorological branch. The KNMI forecasts weather, researches climate change, and monitors seismic activity.
Their reach goes far beyond the Netherlands. In 2017, the KNMI-built TROPOMI was launched into the atmosphere aboard the Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite. Recently, the TROPOMI measured and mapped the decline in nitrogen dioxide concentration over China from December to March due to COVID-19…
A busy hurricane season and the coronavirus pandemic ‘is a cataclysmic scenario’
Thanks to COVID-19, the hurricane season that officially starts Monday will be unlike any other.
“The combination of an ongoing pandemic and what NOAA has forecast to be a busy hurricane season is a cataclysmic scenario,” according to the disaster policy group SmarterSafer Coalition.
Federal forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last month predicted as many as 19 named storms would form, of which as many as 10 will be hurricanes. It’s just one of many forecasts that predict an unusually busy season in 2020.
“This could be a very active season,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Dan Kottlowski. “The more active the season, the more likely we’ll have at least one, two or three major events.”
Astrid Caldas, a climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, said: “The intersection of the pandemic with hurricane season is unprecedented and unfortunate, as it will play out as FEMA’s resources and staff are stretched thin with the pandemic response and a series of disasters since 2017, which will make it harder for the agency to rise to the challenge of simultaneously occurring disasters….