The American Space and Aviation Administration (NASA) found that quarantine practices implemented worldwide due to the new type of corona virus (Covid-19) pandemic last year resulted in a 15 percent decrease in global nitrogen oxide levels. The researchers stated that the emission of harmful gas decreased by 50 percent in some cities of China.
Much of the world went into quarantine in 2020 to help stop the spread of Covid-19. While the main goal is to fight the virus, such efforts have led to a “rapid” reduction in air pollution emissions.
A new study published by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) reports that harmful nitrogen oxide emissions in the atmosphere have decreased by 15 percent globally by June 2020. Some cities in China saw a 50 percent drop “within a few weeks” after their February 2020 lockdown, while some US states saw a 25 percent drop.
Kazuyuki Miyazaki, a scientist at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who led the study, said: “I am delighted that our analysis system was able to capture the detailed changes in emissions worldwide. “The challenging and unprecedented nature of this work is testament to advances in satellite tracking that serve societal needs,” he said.
The mod used satellite data from NASA and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) orbital instruments to determine whether lockdown efforts have had any impact on ozone gases, by comparing the data to 2019.
Scientists reported that global emissions decreased by 12 percent in February, 14 percent in March, 15 percent in April and 13 percent in June.
The authors of the study, published in the journal Science Advances, stated that in February, the 36 percent reduction in emissions from China made the biggest contribution to the reduction of global nitrogen oxide levels. In Western Asia, it fell between 18 percent and 25 percent. “Africa and South America also saw a 5 to 10 percent net reduction in emissions in April and May, with significant spatial differences within regions.”
On the other hand, the quarantine implemented early last year in Italy led to massive emissions reductions of up to 25 percent from late February to early May. Other European countries, such as France and Spain, also experienced large emissions reductions from March to May.