NO2: An Indicator of Pollution Sources and Trends
Video Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is unhealthy to breathe (e.g., Anenberg et al., 2018; Eum et al., 2019), is a member of the NOx family (NOx = NO + NO2) and is a necessary ingredient for the formation of unhealthy levels of surface ozone (O3), another important pollutant. It is primarily generated during fossil fuel combustion, so thermal power plants and automobiles are the dominant sources.
The animation shows changes in NO2 from 2005 to 2016 from data of the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI), a Dutch-Finnish instrument, on the NASA Aura satellite. 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. Former President Obama explains how satellite data show that the Clean Air Act is working in a video from Discovery Channel News. However, a recent study by Jiang et al. (2018) indicates that the downward trend in NO2 has stalled since about 2011.
There are also notable changes in NO2 levels around the world (Duncan et al., 2016).
Download NO2 Images for cities, power plants, regions, and the world
From the sidebar, you can to download pre-made images of satellite data of NO2 over U.S. power plants and over U.S. and world cities from OMI. The pre-made images include spatial maps, such as trends over time (2005-2016). Visit the News tab for more information, including downloadable videos and images of satellite data of NO2.
Download NO2 Data
These papers show how emissions and trends in OMI NO2 data correspond to independent data sources, such as from CEMS and AQS: