COVID-19: NASA Satellite Data Show Drop in Air Pollution Over U.S.

  • Released Monday, May 18th, 2020
  • Updated Wednesday, November 15th, 2023 at 12:44AM
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These images show the impact the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on reducing air pollution in the United States as widespread lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders have been put in place. The images show a reduction in the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2)—a noxious gas emitted by motor vehicles, power plants, and industrial facilities—as measured by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite in March 2020. The “without stay-at-home orders” images show average monthly NO2 concentrations during March and April from 2015 through 2019, while the “during stay-at-home orders” images show average monthly concentrations in March and April 2020.

These improvements in air quality have come at a high cost, as communities grapple with the impacts of COVID-19. The data indicate that the NO2 levels in March and April 2020 are much lower on average across the United States when compared to the mean of 2015 to 2019.



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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


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