Satellite Data Shows Decrease in Air Pollution Over Italy as Country on Coronavirus Lockdown

An animation of satellite data from the European Space Agency’s Copernicus satellite collected between January 1 and March 11 shows a decrease in emissions across Europe, particularly over Italy, as COVID-19 prompted lockdowns and reduced activity.

In a press release, the European Space Agency (ESA) quoted Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission manager Claus Zehner as saying, “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.”

As of March 13, Italy reported over 15,000 COVID-19 patients, the largest outbreak of confirmed cases reported outside of China.

Lockdowns started in Italy in late February. Credit: European Space Agency via Storyful