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2017-2019 SO2 in India 2020 SO2 in India

OMI detected SO2 change over India after national lockdown

Figure caption: India recently became the world’s largest emitter of sulfur dioxide (SO2). The highest SO2 levels are over eastern India and primarily associated with electricity generation. Other sources in India include the ceramics industry. The slider above shows satellite data of SO2 from Aura’s Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI), averaging levels between March 25 and April 25.

LA 2015-19 LA 2020

Pandemic Before and After: Los Angeles 2015-2019 versus 2020

Figure caption: On March 19, California was one of the first states to set mandatory stay-at-home restrictions in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. Arizona and Nevada followed suit around April 1. The Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on board NASA’s Aura satellite provide data that indicate that these restrictions have led to about a 31% decrease in NO2 levels in the Los Angeles basin relative to previous years. NO2, or nitrogen dioxide, is an air pollutant measured by OMI. The estimated reductions for other cities in the Southwest U.S.

india map 2017 india map 2020

Pandemic Before and After: South Asia: 2017-2019 versus 2020

Figure caption: On March 24, 2020, Prime Minister Modi ordered a nationwide stay-at-home order for India’s 1.3 billion citizens in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. As a consequence, less fossil fuels are being consumed and, subsequently, less air pollution is being emitted in India and also in neighboring countries, including Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. The slider above shows satellite data of NO2 from the Aura Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) as an average of March 25 through April 25.

Pandemic Before and After: Southeast US: 2015-2019 versus 2020

Figure caption: Over the past several weeks, the Southeast U.S. has seen significant reductions in air pollution over many of its major metropolitan areas, such as Atlanta and Charlotte. Similar reductions in air pollution have been observed in the Northeast U.S., Florida, and across the globe.

florida2015-2019 florida2020

Pandemic Before and After: Florida 2015-2019 versus 2020

Figure caption: Over the past several weeks, Florida has seen significant reductions in air pollution over many of its major metropolitan areas, such as Miami and Orlando. Similar reductions in air pollution have been observed across the globe. These recent improvements in air quality have come at a high cost, as communities grapple with the widespread stay-at-home advisories that began about a month ago as a result of the spread of COVID-19. Major League Baseball (MLB) spring training games were canceled on March 12 and Disney World in Orlando closed on March 16.

india particles

Airborne Particle Levels Plummet in Northern India

On March 25, 2020, the Indian government placed its 1.3 billion citizens under a strict lockdown to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The country-wide mandate decreased activity at factories and severely reduced car, bus, truck, and airplane traffic. After just a week of reduced human activities, NASA satellite sensors observed aerosol levels at a 20-year low for this time of year in northern India.

2015-2019 Average NO2 for the Northeast US 2020 NO2 Map for the Northeast US

Pandemic Before and After: Northeast US 2015-2019 versus 2020

Over the past several weeks, the Northeast U.S. has seen significant reductions in air pollution over many of its major metropolitan areas, such as New York City and Baltimore. Similar reductions in air pollution have been observed across the globe. These recent improvements in air quality have come at a high cost, as communities grapple with the widespread stay-at-home advisories that began about a month ago as a result of the spread of COVID-19.

Video of NO2 Changes 2015-2020

Video: Northeast US 2015-2019 versus 2020

Over the past several weeks, the Northeast U.S. has seen significant reductions in air pollution over many of its major metropolitan areas, such as New York City and Baltimore. Similar reductions in air pollution have been observed across the globe. These recent improvements in air quality have come at a high cost, as communities grapple with the widespread stay-at-home advisories that began about a month ago as a result of the spread of COVID-19. The animation shows satellite data of NO2 from the Aura Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) over the Northeast United States in March for each year from 2015 to 2020. Year-to-year variations in weather and pollutant emissions cause variations in the monthly means for individual years. March 2020 shows the lowest values as compared to any of the monthly values for March during the OMI data record, which spans 2005 to present. Caution: Further analysis is required to rigorously quantify the amount of the change in NO2 levels associated with changes in pollutant emissions versus natural variations in weather.

nitrogen dioxide europe

Coronavirus lockdown leading to drop in pollution across Europe

New data, based on observations from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, are showing strong reductions in nitrogen dioxide concentrations over several major cities across Europe – including Paris, Madrid and Rome.

covid space

COVID-19 Impact on Asian Emissions: Insight from Space Observations

On March 17th, the lead PIs of ACCLIP (Asian summer monsoon Chemical and Climate Impact Project) made the decision to postpone the ACCLIP airborne field campaign from summer 2020 to 2021. The airborne field campaign was jointly funded by the NSF and NASA, and involves both the NCAR research aircraft Gulfstream V and the NASA research aircraft WB-57. This decision was forced by the global COVID-19 outbreaks.

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Airborne Nitrogen Dioxide Plummets Over China

NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) pollution monitoring satellites have detected significant decreases in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) over China. There is evidence that the change is at least partly related to the economic slowdown following the outbreak of coronavirus.

Air pollution is triggering diabetes in 3.2 million people each year

Air pollution caused 3.2 million new cases of diabetes worldwide in 2016, according to a new estimate. Fine particulate matter, belched out by cars and factories and generated through chemical reactions in the atmosphere, hang around as haze and make air hard to breathe. Air pollution has been linked to chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes (SN: 9/30/17, p. 18), but this study is one of the first attempts to quantify the connection for diabetes.  

Every Breath You Take: Who Is Monitoring Air Quality in Kenya?

“Is that air you’re breathing now?” Morpheus asks Neo in the 1990s cult classic, The Matrix. The same question could be asked of millions of Kenyans for whom the quality of what they inhale on a daily basis has for too long been taken for granted. 

 

Estimated Changes in Sulfur Dioxide from 1980 to 2015

Reconstructed Sulfur Dioxide Levels (1980-2015)

Fioletov et al. (2017) used Aura Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) satellite measurements of vertical column densities (VCD: the total number of molecules per unit area) of sulfur dioxide, a criteria air pollutant, to establish a link between reported sulfur dioxide emissions, OMI sulfur dioxide VCDs measured by satellites, and surface sulfur dioxide concentration measurements. They then estimated annual mean sulfur dioxide VCD distributions (as shown in animation), based on reported point-source emissions for the period 1980–2015, as would have been seen by OMI.

SO2 Map of the USA

Sulfur Dioxide in the US, 2005-2016

2005 EPA 2019 EPA

Changes in Nitrogen Dioxide in the USA, 2005-2019

President Obama Explains How Pollution Affects Our Planet

President Barack Obama joins DNews to discuss how NASA mapped pollution from space and what it means for our future.  Watch the video here or find out more at https://www.youtube.com.

Changes in Nitrogen Dioxide in the USA, 2005-2019

The animation shows the changes in OMI NO2 levels from 2005 to 2019 over the Untied States.  The large decreases (20-50%) are associated with the implementation of state and federal regulations to reduce NOx emissions from power plants and cars.  The only areas of increases occurred over areas of oil and natural gas (ONG) extraction activities in North Dakota and Texas.  For images over ONG areas, click here.

Global ABS Visualization for 2005 Global ABS Visualization for 2014

Before and After: World Nitrogen Dioxide Levels, 2005-2016

These global maps show NO2 levels in the atmosphere as detected by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument aboard the Aura satellite, averaged over 2005 and 2014, respectively.