Since the 1980s, supercomputer-powered weather models have added a new day of predictive power with each new decade. Today, the best forecasts run out to 10 days with real skill, leading meteorologists to wonder just how much further useful forecasts can go. A new study suggests a humbling answer: another 4 or 5 days. A seminal 1969 paper by Edward Lorenz introduced what would later be dubbed the "butterfly effect": The chaotic, nested turbulent flows of the atmosphere would make it impossible to forecast the weather after 2 weeks, he suggested. Until recently, however, global weather models have been unable to render the small-scale cloud-forming processes that drive such chaos.
Grounding the world's commercial airliners in an attempt to stop the coronavirus crossing international borders could have an unexpected effect: weather forecasts may get less accurate. That is because commercial planes often carry meteorological instruments and the readings they gather feed into weather forecasting models. With most flights cancelled, this valuable dataset has been temporarily lost. Stan Benjamin at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says a similar situation occurred in 2010. That spring, the ash-laden eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano triggered Europe's biggest shutdown …
A plume of "tropical air" is expected to sweep across parts of the UK over the weekend, bringing unseasonably mild temperatures, says BBC Weather. Forecaster Steve Cleaton said: "Through the weekend, increasingly mild air of tropical origin will be steered across the UK by westerly winds." Temperatures are expected to peak on Monday, with highs of 17C in some parts. The record temperature recorded for a day in February was 19.7C in 1998. The mild weather will be enjoyed across much of England, east Wales, eastern Scotland and eastern parts of Northern Ireland.