Most of us are likely feeling the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak that is sweeping across the world, be it nurses, doctors, civilians or entire governments. The areas of quarantine are increasing just as the number of infected people rises and it is very hard to have a positive outlook on the future when no one has any answers in regards to it. Well, scientists finally are reporting a positive change, albeit it might not be what we might expect.

According to the European Space Agency (ESA), as well as a handful of independent researchers, nitrogen dioxide emissions have significantly decreased over Italy following the lockdown caused by the spread of COVID-19. The Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite detected a decline in NO2 emissions signaling the decrease in air pollution, with the most significant change being observed in the northern part of the country.

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

Scientists and researchers are reporting a significant decrease in NO2 levels above Italy

Image credits: SanGasso

“Copernicus Sentinel-5P Tropomi is the most accurate instrument today that measures air pollution from space. These measurements, globally available thanks to the free and open data policy, provide crucial information for citizens and decision makers,” said Josef Aschbacher, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes.

The graphs show a gradual decrease in NO2 pollution starting from the 14th of February

With less NO2 traces on the 24th of February

Santiago Gassó, a research associate at NASA, took to Twitter to report on the results of the satellite sensor. He also explained that while fluctuating NO2 emissions are completely normal considering that they differ under such factors as the day of the week, this observed change was definitely significant.

And a significant decrease in March

Image credits: SanGasso

The map showcases NO2 pollution levels on the 8th of February, Saturday

While this one shows the pollution levels on Saturday, March 7

This is the data presented by the European Space Agency (ESA) that shows the same tendency

You can watch the time-lapse from ESA in the video below

Some Italians have also reported a more noticeable change in the environment

Image credits: FolinAlberto

As the canals in Venice become crystal clear due to reduced traffic during the quarantine

Image credits: FolinAlberto

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