Levels of air pollution over some cities and regions are showing significant drops as coronavirus impacts work and travel. With global economic activity ramping down as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the emissions of a variety of gases related to energy and transport has been reduced.
Researchers in New York have found that the carbon monoxide mainly from cars had been reduced by nearly 50% compared with last year and emissions of the planet-heating gas CO2 have also fallen sharply.
While it is early days, data collected in New York this week suggests that instructions to curb unnecessary travel are having a significant impact.
Traffic levels in the city were estimated to be down 35% compared with a year ago. Emissions of carbon monoxide, mainly due to cars and trucks, have fallen by around 50% for a couple of days this week according to researchers at Columbia University.
They have also found that there was a 5-10% drop in CO2 over New York and a solid drop in methane as well.
This trend on air pollution echo the environmental impacts connected to the virus outbreaks in China and in Italy.
An analysis carried out for the climate website Carbon Brief suggested there had been a 25% drop in energy use and emissions in China over a two week period. This is likely to lead to an overall fall of about 1% in China’s carbon emissions this year, experts believe.
Both China and Northern Italy have also recorded significant falls in nitrogen dioxide, which is related to reduced car journeys and industrial activity. The gas is both a serious air pollutant and a powerful warming chemical.
With aviation grinding to a halt and millions of people working from home, a range of emissions across many countries are likely following the same downward path.
Reference- BBC, Carbon Brief, Columbia University Research, Futurism, CNN