Nitrogen dioxide emissions in Europe have greatly decreased because of the quarantine measures implemented by many countries the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Friday.

“The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been spreading rapidly across the world – affecting 170 countries with more than 530 000 confirmed cases worldwide … In order to curb the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, countries across the world are implementing strict measures – placing cities and even entire countries on lockdown.

The Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite has recently mapped air pollution across Europe and China and has revealed a significant drop in nitrogen dioxide concentrations – coinciding with the strict quarantine measures”,” ESA said in a statement, highlighting Milan, Paris, and Madrid as the sites of the most pronounced reductions.

The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) has begun interpreting the observed changes by using other types of data.

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“For quantitative estimates of the changes in the emissions due to transportation and industry, we need to combine the Tropomi data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite with models of atmospheric chemistry. These studies have started, but will take some time to complete,” KNMI scientists Henk Eskes said.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, multiple European countries have declared emergencies and introduced curfews, significantly slowing down economic activities, resulting in lower levels of air pollution.