Air traffic collapsed violently during the Coronavirus lockdown and also the pollution

The Coronavirus disease, also called the COVID-19, has been spreading rapidly across the world and affecting a large number of countries with more thousand confirmed cases worldwide. The Coronavirus outbreak was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, and a hypothetical vaccine has been awaited for the next year.

One of the few positive aspects due to the lock-down imposed to stop the spread of Coronavirus is that of causing the lowering of air pollution. A consequence of the general decline in the use of planes and cars for daily journeys.

“The chemistry in our atmosphere is non-linear. Therefore, the percentage drop in concentrations may differ somewhat from the drop in emissions. Atmospheric chemistry models, which account for daily changes in weather, in combination with inverse modelling techniques are needed to quantify the emission based on the satellite observations.”

Coronavirus lockdown leading to drop in pollution across Europe | ESA

In the video posted above, you can see footage that shows the airborne flight activity and directly compares it to the year before. The difference is significant and it is clear that the drop in air pollution is a direct consequence of this.

Nitrogen dioxide concentrations over Italy

This image, using data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, shows the average nitrogen dioxide concentrations from 14 to 25 March 2020, compared to the monthly average concentrations from 2019.

The footage was taken from EuroControl, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation. EuroControl’s activities touch on operations, service provision, concept development, research, Europe-wide project implementation, performance improvements, coordination with key aviation players at various levels as well as providing support to the future evolution and strategic orientations of aviation.


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