Satellite Photos Show A Dramatic Decrease In Pollution Above Italy During The Coronavirus Quarantine

Published 4 years ago

As the coronavirus sweeps the world, more and more people are choosing self-quarantine and wait for the worst. But, believe it or not, there’s a small silver lining to it all – with more people staying at home and many businesses temporarily closing, pollution levels are dropping dramatically.

The European Space Agency (ESA) and a few independent researchers report that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions over Italy have decreased significantly since the country went on lockdown. The decrease in NO2 levels was even captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite and is especially visible in Northern Italy.

ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission manager Claus Zehner reported that the decline in NO2 emissions was particularly evident over the Po Valley. “Although there could be slight variations in the data due to cloud cover and changing weather, we are very confident that the reduction in emissions that we can see, coincides with the lockdown in Italy causing less traffic and industrial activities,” said the mission manager.

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Researchers noticed a dramatic decrease in NO2 levels above Italy following the lockdown

Image credits: SanGasso

Josef Aschbacher, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, said that the Copernicus Sentinel-5P Tropomi satellite is the “most accurate instrument today that measures air pollution from space”. “These measurements, globally available thanks to the free and open data policy, provide crucial information for citizens and decision makers,” added the director.

Starting on the 14th of February, NO2 levels have gradually been decreasing

Even less NO2 traces were visible on the 24th of February

NASA’s research associate Santiago Gassó reported the satellite findings on Twitter and went on to explain that even though the fluctuation of NO2 levels is normal, this change was very significant.

As March began, the NO2 levels dropped even more

Image credits: SanGasso

Here are the differences between NO2 level measured on the 8th of February…

…and on the 7th of March

European Space Agency’s (ESA) data confirms the findings

See a timelapse video of the NO2 level change in the video below

Italians are even reporting changes in the environment

Image credits: FolinAlberto

For example, due to reduced traffic, the canals in Venice become crystal clear

Image credits: FolinAlberto

Here’s what people had to say about the NO2 decrease

Aušrys Uptas

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air pollution, corona, coronavirus, coronavirus quarantine, covid19, Italy, italy quarantine, NO2 pollution, pollution, pollution decrease, Quarantine
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