Satellite images show drop in air pollution over Italy

Posted by Kyro Mitchell on 15 March 2020

After China, Italy is the second country to be hit hardest by the coronavirus, with around 21,00 confirmed cases and over 1,400 deaths.

To mitigate the further spread of the virus, the Italian government has been forced to implement a nationwide lockdown, which resulted in a decline in air pollution.

According to the European Space Agency (ESA), it had witnessed a decline in emissions, including nitrogen dioxide, a noxious gas emitted by power plants, cars and factories over the Northern city of Po Valley thanks to help from the Sentinel-5P satellite.

According to Claus Zehner, Manager of the ESA Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite mission, “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.”

The video, which was posted to the ESA YouTube channel, runs from January through mid-March. You can see that the bright red and orange spot of pollution over northern Italy goes dark shortly after the government issued the lockdown orders this past Sunday.

Similar figures have also been reported over the city of Wuhan, and the rest of China, as the country instated a nationwide lockdown. According to reports from the Earth observatory, NO2 emissions saw a significant decrease in during the months of January and February 2020.

Image: Screen shot

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