Air pollution decreased by 30% in Northeast U.S.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced hundreds of millions of people to self-isolate as entire countries went on lockdown in recent weeks.

Recently NASA has noticed that the pandemic is having a good environmental impact. Measurements taken by NASA satellites have revealed noteworthy decreases in air pollution by 30% over the major metropolitan regions of the Northeast United States. Similar reductions have been observed in other regions of the world.

The data indicate that the nitrogen dioxide levels in March 2020 are about 30% lower on average across the region of the I-95 corridor from Washington, DC to Boston than when compared to the March mean of 2015-19.

The image shows the average concentration in March of 2015-19. Credit: NASA
The image shows the average concentration in March of 2015-19. Credit: NASA
The image shows the average concentration measured in March of this year. Credits: NASA
The image shows the average concentration measured in March of this year. Credits: NASA

The images show average concentrations of atmospheric nitrogen dioxide as measured by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite, as processed by a team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland. The first image shows the average concentration in March of 2015-19, while the second image shows the average concentration measured in March of this year.

However, scientists think that further analysis is required to thoroughly measure the measure of the change in nitrogen dioxide levels related to changes in emissions versus natural variations in weather.

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