Climatic signatures in the different COVID-19 pandemic waves across both hemispheres

Time Series Analysis
Climate & Health
Infectious Diseases
Journal Article

Alejandro Fontal

Menno J. Bouma

Adrià San José

Leonardo López

Mercedes Pascual

Xavier Rodó


Thursday, the 21 of October, 2021


Citation (APA)

Fontal, A., Bouma, M. J., San-José, A., López, L., Pascual, M., & Rodó, X. (2021). Climatic signatures in the different COVID-19 pandemic waves across both hemispheres. Nature Computational Science, 1(10), 655-665.


The roles of climate and true seasonal signatures in the epidemiology of emergent pathogens, and that of SARS-CoV-2 in particular, remain poorly understood. With a statistical method designed to detect transitory associations, we show, for COVID-19 cases, strong consistent negative effects of both temperature and absolute humidity at large spatial scales. At finer spatial resolutions, we substantiate these connections during the seasonal rise and fall of COVID-19. Strong disease responses are identified in the first two waves, suggesting clear ranges for temperature and absolute humidity that are similar to those formerly described for seasonal influenza. For COVID-19, in all studied regions and pandemic waves, a process-based model that incorporates a temperature-dependent transmission rate outperforms baseline formulations with no driver or a sinusoidal seasonality. Our results, so far, classify COVID-19 as a seasonal low-temperature infection and suggest an important contribution of the airborne pathway in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, with implications for the control measures we discuss.