Sunday, March 15, 2020

Falling Air Pollution Around the World

Yesterday I posted news of the European Space Agency's animation of falling nitrogen dioxide emissions over Europe from Jan 1st to March 11th. Cristina Vrinceanu has used the same ESA data, captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, to map NO2 emissions across the whole world from before and after the outbreak of Covid-19.

Comparison of Mean Tropospheric NO2 Concentration is a Google Earth Engine map which allows you to directly compare NO2 emissions from before the outbreak of COVID-19 to the mean emissions since Feb 20th. The map allows you to compare before and after NO2 emissions around the world. A drop in air pollution is particularly evident on the map over northern Italy.

Nitrogen Dioxide air pollutants comes from motor vehicle exhaust, from the burning of coal oil & gas and from manufacturing processes. The fall in NO2 in China and Italy could be due to cloud cover and changing atmospheric conditions, however scientists at the European Space Agency are confident that the fall in Italy is due to the reduction in road traffic and industrial activity from the quarantines and lock-downs put in place by the Italian government.

If you want to create your own Earth Engine visualization then you might also like Cristina Vrinceanu's write-up of how she created her before & after NO2 visualization, Monitoring emissions during the Italian COVID-19 epidemic lock-down.

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