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Coronavirus lockdown leading to drop in pollution across Europe

By Eric Van Rees - 30th March 2020 - 07:55

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been spreading rapidly across the world – affecting 170 countries with more than 530.00 confirmed cases worldwide. The coronavirus outbreak was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation, and has since stated that the disease is ‘accelerating’.

In order to curb the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, countries across the world are implementing strict measures – placing cities and even entire countries on lockdown.

The Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite has recently mapped air pollution across Europe and China and has revealed a significant drop in nitrogen dioxide concentrations – coinciding with the strict quarantine measures.

Scientists from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) have been using data from Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite to monitor both weather and pollution over Europe. The new images clearly illustrate a strong reduction of nitrogen dioxide concentrations over major cities across Europe – specifically Milan, Paris and Madrid.

The satellite images show nitrogen dioxide concentrations from 14 to 25 March 2020, compared to the monthly average of concentrations from 2019.

Henk Eskes, from KNMI, explains why these dates were chosen, “The nitrogen dioxide concentrations vary from day to day due to changes in the weather. Conclusions cannot be drawn based on just one day of data alone."

Read More: Climate Change Satellite Imaging Education & Research

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