Medical researchers use Climate Reanalyzer to predict potential spread of COVID-19  

Medical researchers have utilized the University of Maine Climate Change Institute’s Climate Reanalyzer as they attempt to predict the potential spread of COVID-19.  

Dr. Mohammad M. Sajadi, an M.D. and associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, led the study titled “Temperature, Humidity and Latitude Analysis to Predict Potential Spread and Seasonality for COVID-19.” 

The study is published on SSRN, a platform for the dissemination of early-stage research. To learn whether SARS-CoV-2 is a seasonal respiratory virus and if its spread can be predicted, researchers examined Climate Reanalyzer temperature maps. 

They found areas with significant community spread of COVID-19 are located within a narrow latitudinal band of 30–50°N, where the mean winter season temperature and humidity range from 5–11 C (41–51.8 F) and 47–79%, respectively. 

The authors of the study suggested the restricted latitude, temperature, and humidity bounds of the initial disease spread are consistent with the behavior of a seasonal respiratory virus, and that weather modeling could be useful in predicting community spread of COVID-19 in coming weeks. 

Since 2012, CCI research assistant professor Sean Birkel has been building the Climate Reanalyzer site that provides access to climate and weather models, as well as historical station data. Birkel also is the Maine State Climatologist.

As of 8 a.m. Friday, March 27, the paper had been downloaded 39,024 times and had been viewed 175,293 times.

— Beth Staples, beth.staples@maine.edu