Italy COVID-19
Image credit: ESA.in

Air pollution over the northern parts of Italy has fallen severely following the country’s defensive and preventative efforts according to satellite data from the European Space Agency (ESA).

The reduction in greenhouse gases, predominantly nitrous dioxide, was detected and is being monitored by the ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, the agency’s first satellite actively tasked with monitoring climate and emissions. The satellite carries the Tropomi instrument to map a multitude of trace gases such as methane, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen-dioxide,  carbon monoxide, ozone, formaldehyde, and aerosols – all of which affect the air we breathe and therefore our health, and our climate.

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laus Zehner, ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission manager, comments, “The decline in nitrogen dioxide emissions over the Po Valley in northern Italy is particularly evident.

“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.”

The video below from the ESA website shows the satellite’s recording of the decline in emissions.

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