Pollution-monitoring satellites operated by NASA and the European Space Agency observed drastic decreases in air pollution over China over a two-week period in February when the quarantine was in effect. The satellites measured concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, which is released by cars, power plants and industrial facilities, from Jan. 1 to Jan. 20, and then again from Feb. 10 to Feb. 25. The difference was unmistakable.



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Concentrations of nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere over Italy also fell precipitously, as it did in China. An analysis by The Washington Post found that the most dramatic dropoff was observed over northern Italy.

Coronavirus shutdowns have unintended climate benefits: cleaner air, clearer water

There's an unlikely beneficiary of coronavirus: The planet

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