Satellite images released by NASA and the European Space Agency show significant decreases in air pollution over China in the months since the country’s coronavirus outbreak.
The images show the levels of nitrogen dioxide, a gas emitted by motor vehicles, power plants and industrial facilities, down over the same period from 2019. In the most recent images, the yellow-brown gas is hardly visible.
Throughout China, many factories have shut down production and travel restrictions are in place, keeping cars off the road.
“This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop-off over such a wide area for a specific event,” said Fei Liu, an air quality researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a statement.
“This year, the reduction rate is more significant than in past years and it has lasted longer,” Liu said. “I am not surprised because many cities nationwide have taken measures to minimize spread of the virus