After China and Europe , the United States is the new region of the world where the impact of the new coronavirus on air quality has just been quantified. According to NASA observations, nitrogen dioxide pollution has already dropped by 30% in recent weeks.
The American state of New York, the most affected by the epidemic, is only at the beginning of its confinement, which should reinforce the trend. Scientists, however, are careful not to be optimistic.
Less nitrogen dioxide across the country
NASA has provided an animation on its site where you can observe the average air quality observed in March during the years 2015 and 2019 on the one hand, and in March 2020 on the other. As on other continents, the difference is striking: the statement said that ” the data indicates that the levels of nitrogen dioxide in March 2020 are about 30% lower on average ” compared to those of previous years. The year 2020 would thus have observed the lowest levels ever recorded in the New York region since the start of NASA satellite recordings in 2005.
If the figures are not yet released, this exceptional decline has also affected other major cities in the United States, including Seattle, Atlanta, New York and Chicago. In Los Angeles, the Sentinel-5P satellite of the European space agency (ESA) also confirmed a significant drop in nitrogen levels in the city and its surroundings, while the city has been confined since March 19 and that the much of the traffic is gone.
Not all good
Nevertheless, and as in China and Europe, scientists call for caution. Nitrogen dioxide levels fluctuate with the weather. And while it is very likely that the measures relating to Covid-19 will have an important role on human emissions, the experts insist on the need to conduct more in-depth research. They will have to determine precisely what the impact of the containment measures has been.
Scientists also point out that this is a health crisis. If this pandemic gives hope for a reduction in CO2 emissions , it also involves threatening various economic sectors, including companies specializing in renewable energies. For exemple, Vestas has already announced that it has suspended its outlook for 2020.