Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Covid-19 by Satellite

Water quality in the Venice Lagoon during the Covid-19 outbreak

Last summer a number of mapped visualizations were published to visualize the short-term effects of Covid-19 on the environment. As a result of the lock-downs and work at home orders which have been established in many countries around the world there was a marked fall in road traffic in many global cities and a subsequent and consequent improvement in air quality. 

The effect of Covid-19 on economic activity and the environment is not limited to just an improvement in air quality. The global epidemic has also had an observable impact on the Earth's land and water. The COVID-19 Dashboard is a tri-agency project established by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to explore the environmental and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on planet Earth.

The Covid-19 Dashboard uses remote sensing data from all three space agencies to investigate and show how Covid-19 has affected Earth’s air, land, and water. For example all three space agencies monitor water quality by measuring Chlorophyll-a (Chl) concentrations using satellite optical sensors. These sensors show that in many locations around the world water quality has improved during the Covid-19 outbreak.

You can explore the map for yourself by selecting either 'Indicators' or 'Countries' from the map sidebar. The available 'indicators' use remote sensing data to explore the effect of Covid-19 on the economy (e.g. air and ship traffic), on agriculture (e.g. planting and harvesting activity) and on air and water quality. The 'countries' menu allows you to select individual countries to view examples of Earth impacts observations available for those countries.

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