Coronavirus Helps To
Improve Air Quality Worldwide
New data confirm the improvement of air quality in Europe as a by-product of the coronavirus crisis. The drastic suspension of economic activity in all countries continues to suppress European pollution by nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a pollutant mainly derived from the consumption of fossil fuels, and this has led to a sharp drop in emissions. The Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute (KNMI) has created a map showing the same. Tropomi, an instrument on the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite of the Dutch Meeting Bureau, monitors several atmospheric gases, including NO2.
"NO2 is very variable from day today. And that is true variability; it is not a measurement artifact, but it is only due to weather changes. So when the wind direction changes or the wind speed changes or the stability of the boundary layer changes - you get different values. "After combining the data for 10 days, much of this variability has been ironed and the impact of human activity changes can be seen.
New maps of France, Spain, and Portugal are also available. The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and other countries in Northern Europe are closely monitored. However, KNMI scientists observed greater variability due to changing weather conditions. In the United Kingdom, this period is short enough to cause concentrations to decline as some of its neighboring Western European countries have been blocked.
Starting this week, new measurements will help assess the changes in nitrogen dioxide in the UK. Sentinel-5P is part of the European Union Earth observers fleet in Copernicus, managed by the European Space Agency. Tropomi is the only tool it has. It is a spectrometer that observes reflected sunlight emanating from the Earth after analyzing different colors. "As far as China is concerned, I think we now have very solid results, partly because we have a long time. And we have the first signs of recovery because people in China are starting to return to work. We will follow developments closely to see if NO2 levels return to levels before coronavirus, "Dr. Eskes told BBC News.