NOAA’s polar orbiting satellites have spotted a significant fall in air pollution as COVID-19 slows down the USA’s economy and society.
Since the start of the nationwide lockdown in mid-March, scientists have monitored air pollution compared with the same period in 2019.
Scientists have been studying NO2 emissions and airborne particulate pollution, a large component of urban air pollution, using the NOAA/NASA Suomi-NPP satellite and the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite.
According to the Ozone Transport Commission, truck traffic is only down 20% compared with February but car traffic has been reduced by over 50%, even at weekends.
Mitch Goldberg, chief program scientist of NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), said, “Observations collected from JPSS and partner satellites are giving NOAA scientists the ability to see how urban and industrial locations contribute to a region’s air pollution through the emissions of gasoline-based gases and fine particles.”
NOAA says that with summer approaching, which usually increases pollution levels due to warmer weather, scientists and satellites will continue to monitor the environmental impact of COVID-19.
NASA has released a video to explain the research, click here to view it.