In recent months, scientists have observed a reduction in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution in the atmosphere across China, a side effect of many people who stay away from the streets because of the new coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19).
Now, northern Italy is going through something similar - as reported by the European Space Agency (ESA), nitrogen dioxide emissions have decreased and also decreased across Europe. According to ESA, the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite has detected the decline NO2 emissions in the atmosphere of northern Italy. Italy has been put on a national level block on Monday, one day after the Lombardy region in northern Italy (where Milan is located) was placed in a blockade.
As seen in the data on air pollution, the the most significant drop in NO2 was observed in northern Italy. There are fewer cars on the streets, fewer businesses with lights and more machinery and, overall, fewer fossil fuels burned in northern Italy than usual and this has led to the reduction of pollution and emissions.
Below, the picture showing the change in pollution in Italy
There are fewer cars on the streets, fewer businesses with lights and other machinery on, and overall, fewer fossil fuels being burned in northern Italy than usual — so it makes sense that the region is experiencing this reduction in emissions.
VIDEO New data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite reveal the decline of air pollution, specifically nitrogen dioxide emissions, over Italy VIDEO
The above animation documents the fluctuation of NO2 emissions over Europe from Jan. 1, 2020 through March 11, 2020, using a "10-day moving average." As you can see, the colors oscillate all over the map as the dates change, and the greatest change is most noticeable in Northern Italy. The measurements were taken by the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite. “Copernicus Sentinel-5P Tropomi is the most accurate instrument today that measures air pollution from space," said Josef Aschbacher, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes. "These measurements, globally available thanks to the free and open data policy, provide crucial information for citizens and decision-makers." The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a pandemic this week, with more than 125,000 cases of the virus worldwide. COVID-19 is, of course, a critical and devastating thing for humanity, and by no means is anyone celebrating the pandemic's effect on air pollution.