There is an urgent need from the scientific community and health actors for an interdisciplinary platform where open access, high quality climate and air-quality data, together with epidemiological COVID-19 disease spread data and socio-economic related data may be explored and used online with high quality software tools permitting to play with and visualize the data. Many ongoing studies are indeed working with variegate data sources, often outdated. The quality of data and the adopted procedures are suboptimal, especially because this kind of research is highly interdisciplinary. Providing a suitable COVID-19 explorer platform will allow the community to go further and explore to which extent relationships among environmental variables (climatic but also air-quality related) and epidemiological variables may be established, together with their socio-economic impact. If solid relationships may be found, it will be possible to answer society and health actors' demands about the spread of the COVID-19 and it will be possible for decision makers to act in advance and to prepare measures.
“We suggest to formulate a research plan to be developed immediately, identifying the areas that require greater scientific knowledge as a priority, promoting coordination and interdisciplinary synergies, and facilitating the necessary economic and administrative resources.” - Barcelona Institute for Global Health
The Guardian: Corona virus in air pollution particles The Guardian: mortality rate and air pollution Barcelona Institute for Global Health Triplett, 2020 Peng-Shi et al, 2020 Tyrrell et al, 2020 Baker et al., 2020 Bukhari, 2020 Wang et al 2020 Sajadi et al., 2020 Luo et al., 2020 Ma et al., 2020 Ficetola et al, 2020 Wang et al, 2020 MIT study
As members of the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) our job is to combine observations of the climate system with the latest science to develop authoritative, quality-assured information about the past, current and future states of the climate in Europe and worldwide. For this project we use our scientific capabilities to help scientists, governments and the general public to navigate the recent COVID-19 emergency by providing free and open high-quality data that shows and allows to study the relation between climatic, epidemiological and socio-economic data. The information will be presented in a comprehensive and easy-to understand way that will enable actors from different sectors to make pragmatic decisions during these tragic pandemics.
What it does
The platform will host high quality data and information together with software tools permitting the user to play with and visualize the data, and also compose pieces of information into a storyline easily reachable to a vast community of users to share findings. The platform goal is to become a reference entry point for experts and non-expert users.
As Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), thanks to our cutting-edge technology, we will provide an open, flexible and authoritative solution hosting tools, data, information derived from different sources. The platform, free and fully accessible, will help the international community to cope with this emergency. Giving access to a free platform, populated by relevant quality controlled near real time information and tools and to specific expertise in climate data, will have the benefit in the short term to provide a robust and scientifically sound platform where the users will be free to operate, easily exchange results and build storylines. In the short-term, this will help to support research, high-level decision making, fast response to critical emergencies and daily life planning. In the mid/long-term, our platform will also allow help to manage future outbreaks making it possible to prepare mitigation plans in advance. Moreover, it will allow industry actors to build business solutions to manage the potential outbreak consequences.
What's next for the COVID Climate Toolbox
It is planned to enrich the proposed solution to tailor it to user needs and cover different typologies of users including scientists, government actors, local authorities and the public. Since ECMWF C3S is part of a wide network of scientists it will be natural for us to present our platform during meetings, events and general assemblies. Governments, local authorities and the general public will be engaged through a dissemination campaign primarily via social media and public events.
As C3S is a public EU-funded project, we will make sure to cover the financial needs related to the development and maintenance of the application.
In order to guarantee a reliable and always up-to-date source of information, we will put in place strong mitigation strategies for the following risks: A) Possible replacement of a team member: ECMWF has a lively scientific team and is constantly recruiting top-tier experts, so if necessary, we will have an excellent professional to cover the vacant team positions; B) Integrating new information about the virus: our experts monitor closely all the latest scientific developments and the application architecture is flexible enough to allow some modifications, like adding new variables, without having to re-shape the entire structure.
Since our aim is to produce a tool to support the worldwide community, our success metrics are entirely based on the user-uptake of the platform. We would like to have a large number of users and visualization from different scientific domains and exchange of solutions among them. In the mid-to-long term, the number of use cases built via the platform will be another indicator of success. The feedback of the end users is extremely important to us, so we will make sure to collect it and to evaluate possible new developments accordingly.
What I learned
"A wise person should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illness" [Hippocrates]