NASA, ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are tracking how the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the economy and the environment,media The Verge reported. The three space agencies brought together satellite observations, created a new dashboard and unveiled it on Thursday.
The COVID-19 Earth Observation Dashboard allows users to explore how the ongoing pandemic affects airport and shipping traffic, urban night lights and agricultural production around the world. It also includes data on greenhouse gases, air quality and water quality.
“This pandemic has not only left humanity with amazing suffering. It’s having a global impact that we can record from space,” Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s head of science, said in a statement. “Our three space agencies realized that if we could come together, we could bring a stronger set of analytical tools to deal with this rapidly evolving crisis. “
JAXA’s satellites ALOS-2 and ESA’s Sentinel-1 looked at the density of newly built cars parked at a factory near Beijing Capital International Airport. Charts on the dashboard show how the density of new cars parked there dropped sharply between December 2019 and February 2020 following the emergence of the new coronavirus in China. Satellite images show that the number of cars in production rose again in April.
NASA-NOAA satellites have captured high-resolution images of nightlights from space, showing how the lights at San Francisco Medical Center were brighter than usual during the Outbreak of the New Crown Virus between January and April 2020.
Previous maps released by NASA and ESA document changes in nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere after the outbreak in China. The sky cleared as factories shut down, planes grounded, people stopped commuting and were isolated at home. The dashboard now includes changes in nitrogen dioxide in the United States, Europe, India and China.
Data from these space agencies show that as the COVID-19 pandemic slows the economy, the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere by humans has fallen. However, this temporary decline is not enough to stop the overall rise in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Ken Jucks, NASA’s research project manager, said in a press conference CallThursday that Beijing’s carbon dioxide emissions appeared to return to normal in April as the coronavirus-induced blockade ended. According to Jucks, nitrogen dioxide pollution in China has also picked up.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the dashboard will continue to update satellite observations. “Our team is exhausted, but very proud, and today our work is available to a global audience,” Josef Aschbacher, ESA’s director of Earth observation, said by phone. “