Air pollution falls as coronavirus slows travel, but scientists warn of longer-term threat to climate change progress. The coronavirus pandemic is shutting down countries across the world, causing a significant decline in air pollution in major cities as countries implement stricter quarantines and travel restrictions. The coronavirus pandemic is shutting down countries across the world, causing a significant decline in air pollution in major cities as countries implement stricter quarantines and travel restrictions. The unintended air pollution declines from the virus outbreak are just temporary, experts say. But the pandemic’s unintended climate impact offers a glimpse into how countries and corporations are equipped to handle the slower-moving but destructive climate change crisis. So far, researchers warn that the world is ill-prepared.
NASA images show ‘significant decreases’ in air pollution over China
Using pollution monitoring satellites, NASA measured the air’s concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a gas that ends up in the air from burning fuel, primarily from cars, trucks, buses and power plants. From Jan. 1 to 20, and Feb. 10 to 25, researchers saw a “significant decrease” in pollution over Wuhan and the rest of China due at least in part to an “economic slowdown” resulting from the virus outbreak, according to a NASA release. The maps above show the density of NO2 concentrations in blue, yellow and orange across China during those time periods. The reduction started in Wuhan, and then spread to the rest of the country, according to NASA. “This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop-off over such a wide area for a specific event,” Fei Liu, an air quality researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a NASA release. In the United States, there are a total of 69 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Monday, and the majority of people were evacuated from Wuhan or passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise that was quarantined due to coronavirus concerns in Japan. Globally, more than 87,000 people have been infected, and 80,000 of the cases are in China, according to the World Health Organization. The WHO hasn’t declared the coronavirus a pandemic yet. Director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Feb. 24 that it “absolutely” has potential to become one. In the U.S., people should be prepared to follow “social distancing measures,” that include working from home and school cancellations, Nancy Messonnier, head of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday.
Air pollution clears in northern Italy after coronavirus lockdown
The European Space Agency (ESA) said it had observed a particularly marked decline in emissions of nitrogen dioxide, a noxious gas emitted by power plants, cars and factories, over the Po Valley region in northern Italy. “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,” Claus Zehner, who manages the agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite mission, said in a statement. ESA published an animation showing how NO2 emissions fluctuated across Europe from Jan. 1-March 11, using a 10-day moving average, clearly showing pollution levels dropping over northern Italy. Italy has been hardest hit by the outbreak in Europe, with more than 15,100 confirmed cases and more than 1,000 dead, and the government has imposed the most severe controls placed on a Western nation since World War Two. Researchers studying the impact of emissions from industry and transport on climate change and human health are scrambling to understand the possible implications of the pandemic as economies slow, flights are disrupted and quarantines imposed. In China, Finland’s Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air says CO2 emissions fell by a quarter, or an estimated 200 million tonnes in the four weeks to March 1 – about half the amount Britain emits in a year.
Los Angeles has the lowest pollution in the world
Los Angeles had the cleanest air of any major city in the world on Monday, according to IQ Air’s live air quality city rankings. It is followed by San Francisco, Portland, Oregon, Sydney in Australia and Moscow, Russia. This is odd, so what is going on? The most likely explanation is with so many people sheltering in place, fewer cars are on the road, creating less pollution. This is probably not a miscalculation, because the World Air Quality Index Project agrees, placing Los Angeles at number two for cleanest air. The most likely explanation is with so many people sheltering in place, fewer cars are on the road. Human activity is also slowing down all around, with fewer airplanes in the sky and less commercial activity across the board. Experts think this will reverse itself as soon as normal activity resumes, so enjoy it while it lasts! The dirtiest air in the world right now can be found in Taiwain, China and India. Los Angeles skyline is seen above the Union Pacific Railroad East Los Angeles Intermodal facility in the City of in Commerce, Calif. A long-term plan for cleaning up the air in a huge swath of smoggy Southern California is due for consideration by regulators.
Corona virus may have saved thousands by reducing air pollution
The Stanford University researcher explained that the positive effects he’s calculated “are just the health benefits of the air pollution changes”. There has obviously been massive disruption to everyday life, with the coronavirus pandemic severely hitting economies from China to the UK, alongside thousands of deaths worldwide. Italy’s toll alone has already surged past 2,500 people. And the latest worldwide figures show that as of today, a terrifying 201,530 have been infected globally, while 8,007 have been killed by the new virus. Burke said that his stats “do not account for the many other short- or long-term negative consequences of social and economic disruption on health or other outcomes. “These harms could exceed any health benefits from reduced air pollution. But the calculation is perhaps a useful reminder of the often-hidden health consequences. Air pollution has plummeted over northern Italy after the government introduced a nationwide lockdown to combat coronavirus, satellite imagery shows. An elderly Milan resident told The Sun Online that with Italy “almost totally locked down to contain the virus, roads are empty and there’s a lot of silence”. The grandad added: “One positive aspect of this situation is that the air quality in Milano is a lot better.” Italy’s mass quarantining of its population has involved complete self-isolation. It has closed all schools, offices and services and ordered everyone without a compelling and authorized reason to stay home. The new coronavirus first appeared in Italy in January, but the outbreak surged dramatically in February in the small town of Codogno, about 60km (40miles) southeast of Milan.