• ESA capture reduced pollution over Italy

    Date:16 March 2020 Author: Leila Stein Tags:, ,

    The lockdown of various countries has proven helpful to the planet. The European Space Agency has just released a video tracking the air pollution over northern Italy for the last few months, registering a serious drop in nitrogen dioxide.

    Northern Italy was locked down on Sunday, 8 March, in an attempt to contain the virus which has hit the country hard.

    Using the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, the European Space Agency (ESA) collected data over the course of the lockdown, noting a sharp decrease in nitrogen dioxide in Po Valley.

    “Although there could be slight variations in the data due to cloud cover and changing weather, we are very confident that the reduction in emissions that we can see coincides with the lockdown in Italy causing less traffic and industrial activities,” Claus Zehner, the mission’s manager at ESA, said in a statement.

    The animation shows the fluctuation of nitrogen dioxide emissions across Europe from 1 January 2020 until 11 March 2020, using a 10-day moving average.

    The Copernicus Sentinel-5P Tropomi is the most accurate instrument scientists currently have that measures air pollution from space.

    Similar drops in pollution levels were noted by NASA over China, after the country went into mass quarantine. The initial drop was most visible over Wuhan, where the virus originated and was the first epicentre of the spread.

    Image: ESA