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Post-Covid Geosciences

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a major trauma for humanity and naturally calls for multiple scientifically-based responses to mitigate the risks and build resilience to it and its potential successors. It should be stressed that the geosciences communities have already strived to respond to it, drawing on their expertise, even if they have also had to face various upheavals as a result of the pandemic.
The solicited talks of this Union Session will highlight these contributions but, more importantly, will seek to identify new developments. These include a better understanding of zoonotic spillovers, anomalous mechanisms and pathways of multi-scale transmission, the role of natural and man-made environmental complexity.
These developments are expected to greatly improve monitoring and governance of the epidemic at different scales and strengthen community engagement. Overall, they put geosciences into a post-Covid perspective.

Public information:
Related to US2:
- Town Hall meeting TM10 "Covid-19 and other epidemics: engagement of the geoscience communities", Wednesday 28 April 17:30–19:00
ZOOM data will be displayed in the programme 15 min prior to the meeting. please suggest short presentations on https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5KZ3NYV
- Inter-Transdisciplinary Session ITS1 "Covid-19 pandemic: health, urban systems and geosciences", Thursday 29 April 14:15-15:00 15:30-17:00
- a special issue of Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics is foreseen

Convener: Daniel Schertzer | Co-conveners: Alexander Baklanov, Paul Bourgine, Stefano Tinti, Benjamin F. Zaitchik

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Fri, 23 Apr, 15:00–17:00

Chairpersons: Daniel Schertzer, Alexander Baklanov, Benjamin F. Zaitchik

Introduction of the session

Judy Omumbo
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Research Board has set up an interdisciplinary and international Task Team to respond to the challenge of providing timely decision support and relevant knowledge on Meteorological and Air Quality (MAQ) factors affecting the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic. The Task Team aims to provide decision makers and the public with a rapid summary of the state of knowledge regarding potential MAQ influences on SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19; to offer general technical guidance for researchers and service providers who wish to consider MAQ data in their analyses, estimates, predictions and projections of COVID-19 risks. The work of the task  motivated both by the global relevance of the subject and by the staggering number of papers and pre-prints currently available, which emphasizes the need for careful review and communication of the state of the science. This first  report presents a summary of key findings of the review to date, as informed by peer reviewed literature.


A key finding is that the underlying mechanisms that drive seasonality of respiratory viral infections are not yet well understood. To date, COVID-19 transmission dynamics appear to have been controlled primarily by government interventions rather than meteorological factors. Respiratory viral infections frequently exhibit some form of seasonality, particularly in temperate climates and some evidence from laboratory studies of SARS-CoV-2, suggests that the virus survives longer under cold, dry, and low ultraviolet radiation conditions. There is also evidence that chronic and short-term exposure to air pollution exacerbates symptoms and increases mortality rates for some respiratory diseases and this is consistent with early studies of COVID-19 mortality rates. However, there is no direct, peer reviewed evidence of pollution impacts on the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 at this time. Process-based modeling studies anticipate that COVID-19 transmission may become seasonal over time, suggesting Meteorology and Air Quality (MAQ) factors may support monitoring and forecasting of COVID-19 in the coming months and years.


Additional research quantifying links between MAQ factors and COVID-19 is needed.

How to cite: Omumbo, J.: First Report of the WMO COVID-19 Task Team on Meteorological and Air Quality (MAQ) factors affecting the COVID-19 pandemic., EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-16347, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-16347, 2021.


Theo Geisel

The severity of infectious diseases and epidemics increases drastically, when pathogens start being transmitted between humans, as thereby they can dispose of human traffic networks for their spreading. This can transform an epidemic into a worldwide threatening pandemic, as the current COVID-19 crisis has shown. Traffic networks exist on multiple scales and the spreading of pathogens exhibits superdiffusive properties. This talk will emphasize and analyze the key role of human mobility for the modeling, forecast, and control of epidemic spreading. A major problem is posed by the limited availability of statistical data on human mobility. Various proxies are now utilized since we suggested dollar bills as proxies for human moblity.  Recent work on endemic diseases in populations open to migration will be discussed. 

How to cite: Geisel, T.: Epidemics and Human Mobility, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-7905, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-7905, 2021.


Jacques Demongeot et al.

We propose a panorama of already known Covid-19 determinants and some other new factors depending on three families of variables, i.e., geoclimatic (like temperature or elevation), demographic (like population density or median age) and socio-economic (like Gini' index or health expenditures as percentage of GDP) parameters. The influence of these determinants differs between the first and the second wave and we give some explanation of this phenomenon, which takes into account various geographical, political and biological characteristics of the populations concerned by the Covid-19 outbreak.









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How to cite: Demongeot, J., Oshinubi, K., Rachdi, M., and Seligmann, H.: Geoclimatic, demographic and socio-economic determinants of the Covid-19 prevalence, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-7976, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-7976, 2021.


Lauren Gardner

In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, we developed an , first released publicly on January 22, 2020, hosted by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. The dashboard visualizes and tracks the number of reported confirmed cases, deaths and recoveries for all countries affected by COVID-19. Further, all the data collected and displayed on the dashboard is made freely available in a GitHub repository, along with the live feature layers of the dashboard. The motivation behind the development of the dashboard was to provide researchers, public health authorities and the general public with a user-friendly tool to track the outbreak situation as it unfolds, critically, with access to the data underlying it. The demand for such a service became evident in the first weeks the dashboard was online, and by the end of February we were receiving over one billion requests for the dashboard feature layers every day, which since increased to between three and 4.5 billion requests every day. The dashboard has been featured on most major national and international media outlets (NYT, Washington Post, CNN, NPR, etc), and is either directly embedded in their websites, or used as the data source for in-house mapping efforts. Further, members of the public health community, including local and national governmental organizations, emergency response teams, public health agencies, and infectious disease researchers around the world rely on the dashboard and its data for informing and planning COVID-19 response. In this talk I will give a brief overview of the evolution of the dashboard, discuss some of the challenges we faced along the way, and suggest some methods by which disease tracking could be done better in the future.

How to cite: Gardner, L.: Tracking COVID-19 in Real-time: Challenges Faced and Lessons Learned, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9286, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-9286, 2021.


General discussion and prospects

Additional speakers/contributors without abstract

  • Paul Bourgine
  • Gabriele Manoli
  • Klaus Fraedrich, Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Germany
  • Masatoshi Yamauchi, Swedish Institude of Space Physics, Sweden
  • Stefano Tinti, University of Bologna, Italy
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