NASA small satellites have spotted a drastic decrease in China’s pollution levels during Coronavirus peak

6th Mar 2020
China emissions coronavirus

NASA small satellites monitoring pollution levels report a significant change in China’s air. After the outbreak of coronavirus and subsequent quarantine, NO2 levels reduced by almost 30%.

NASA small satellites are observing a massive improvement in China’s pollution levels following the outbreak of coronavirus. This change is directly related to reduced economic activity, as well as fewer emissions from cars. During the peak of the coronavirus in the country between 1st January and 25th February, NO2 – nitrogen dioxide – amounts have reduced by almost 30%, which is the largest rate since the 2008 economic recession.

Small satellites show Chinese air clearing up

NASA’s small satellites have picked up on the Chinese air clearing up, but the question is – for how long? Even though this rate is the lowest since the 2008 economic recession, coronavirus is already past its peak in the country. So, we could once again see China’s nitrogen dioxide amounts getting back to their previous levels.

China emissions coronavirus satellite image
The satellite image from NASA shows significant reduction in emissions from China during the peak of Coronavirus.

Back in 2008, air improvement reached similar numbers, even though the change was not so swift as with the coronavirus outbreak. A similar decline also happened in 2008, around the Beijing Olympic Games. However, right after this event was over, pollution levels skyrocketed back to high levels again.

While the first mentions of coronavirus in China go back to the beginning of this year, the country did not go into quarantine until later in February. China coronavirus quarantine lasted from Feb 10 to Feb 25. During this time, most Chinese manufacturers were shut down. Interestingly, quarantine took place at the time of China’s new year’s celebrations. Traditionally, most manufacturers are closed during this period anyway.

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