Pollution levels across the globe are dramatically decreasing as populations across the world isolate themselves amid the spread of the coronavirus.
Industries have halted, and hundreds of millions of people are quarantined in countries including China, Italy and the United States.
As fewer drivers make daily commutes, fewer boats take to the waterways and fewer planes take flight, data from a European Space Agency satellite shows a decrease in nitrogen dioxide levels across American cities, including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
Traffic and pollution levels across the U.S. have dropped amid the #COVIDoutbreak. @DescartesLabs processed data from #Sentinel-5P satellite and compared it to March 10-22 of last year. Here's what they found: pic.twitter.com/DTk2QSRjLy— Pattrn (@pattrn) March 24, 2020
Nitrogen dioxide is a pollutant produced from the burning of fuel like that for heating, power generation and combustion engines, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Other images showed a decrease in Wuhan, China, where the virus originated from December 2019 to March 2020.
A new animation showing the variation of nitrogen dioxide emissions over #China (Dec-March) – thanks to @CopernicusEU #Sentinel5P data.— ESA EarthObservation (@ESA_EO) March 19, 2020
Sentinel-5P currently provides the most accurate measurements of NO2 and other trace gases from space.
Images from Jan. 1 to Jan. 11 also showed the gas decreased across Europe, including in Italy, where more than 8,200 people have died from the virus, leading the world.
Fluctuation of nitrogen dioxide emissions across #Europe from 1 Jan until 11 Mar 2020, using a 10-day moving average & data from @CopernicusEU #Sentinel5P.— ESA EarthObservation (@ESA_EO) March 13, 2020
The decline in NO2 emissions over the #PoValley 🇮🇹 is particularly evident.https://t.co/MkPuG4IcOi pic.twitter.com/LcNH1QsmaB
Because of less boat traffic, waterways in Venice are also showing signs of less pollution.
According to #Venice's 🇮🇹 citizens, waters have cleared following the #COVID19 lock-down. But what can we see from #Sentinel2 🛰️🇪🇺?— Copernicus EU (@CopernicusEU) March 24, 2020
A notable difference in boat traffic between 8 February & 19 March, as well as seemingly less turbid/agitated waters. What do you think?#EUSpace pic.twitter.com/HnqmjOdDCN
"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 statement earlier this month.
There are more than 520,000 confirmed cases and 23,000 deaths worldwide, according to a Johns Hopkins map.