'A little less certain:' Drop in aircraft flights due to COVID-19 may affect weather forecasts

NEW YORK -- As the coronavirus pandemic causes major airlines to ground more of their fleets, experts say this could have impacts on the way weather is able to be forecasted.

As airplanes fly, technology on-board measures and calculates wind speeds, atmospheric pressures, and temperatures. Officials say planes gather as much as 250 million weather pattern data each year.

Data which is used by the National Weather Service.

But now, as more planes are grounded as a precaution to slow the spread of COVID-19, experts say this will have some negative effects on producing accurate forecasters.

But, not all hope is lost.

"Well, it will probably cause the forecast to be slightly less skillful," said Cliff Mass, Atmospheric Science Professor at the University of Washington.