Blue skies across Europe as coronavirus lockdown slashes air pollution

The change in the amount of nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere is particularly broad in Paris, Milan and Madrid, according to the European Space Agency

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New images captured from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, provided by the European Space Agency (ESA), show sharp reductions in nitrogen dioxide concentrations across several European cities during the coronavirus outbreak.

According to the data observed, the change in the amount of nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere is particularly notable in Paris, Milan and Madrid.

The ESA’s satellite images show nitrogen dioxide concentrations from 14th to 25th March 2020, compared to the monthly average of concentrations from 2019 – during this period the countries have gone into lockdown in order to combat the spread of the virus and ease the demand on health services.

Henk Eskes, from Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, said: “The nitrogen dioxide concentrations vary from day to day due to changes in the weather. Conclusions cannot be drawn based on just one day of data alone.

“By combining data for a specific period of time, 10 days in this case, the meteorological variability partly averages out and we begin to see the impact of changes due to human activity.”

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