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Video: Northeast US 2015-2019 versus 2020

Video Credit: 
NASA GSFC

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.