Nitrogen dioxide levels in Europe continue to drop

  • Nitrogen dioxide concentrations over Europe. Image: ESA
  • Nitrogen dioxide concentrations over Europe. Image: ESA
Date:20 April 2020 Author: Imogen Searra Tags:, ,

The effects of COVID-19 lockdown across Europe has seen a drastic decrease in nitrogen dioxide levels throughout the continent.

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Copernicus network monitors compounds in the atmosphere, one of these being nitrogen dioxide. A recent analyses of Copernicus data has revealed that nitrogen dioxide emissions have dropped drastically. In some countries, emission levels have been cut in half.

According to the ESA: “The Copernicus Sentinels are a fleet of dedicated EU-owned satellites, designed to deliver the wealth of data and imagery that are central to the European Union’s Copernicus environmental programme. The European Commission leads and coordinates this programme, to improve the management of the environment, safeguarding lives every day.

“ESA is in charge of the space component, responsible for developing the family of Copernicus Sentinel satellites on behalf of the European Union and ensuring the flow of data for the Copernicus services, while the operations of the Copernicus Sentinels have been entrusted to ESA and EUMETSAT.”

A visual comparison of March and April 2019 to March and April 2020 further highlights the drastic decreases.

According to the ESA, “The result is a stunning decrease in atmospheric nitrogen dioxide over urban areas. Paris levels are down nearly 55%, with Rome, Milan and Madrid all approaching 50% reductions compared to normal.” These values are accurate to within 15%, stipulates the ESA.

Take a look at the comparison below.

Nitrogen dioxide concentrations over Europe. Image: ESA


Image: Unsplash

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