The impact of COVID-19 documented by satellite imagery in a new initiative by NASA, Japan and Europe

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In addition to being a public health crisis, COVID-19 has also had a dramatic impact on the environment and the economy.

Three space agencies – NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) – monitor how the new coronavirus has changed the world environmentally and economically using a new dashboard which was unveiled on Thursday.

The COVID-19 Earth Observation Dashboard allows users to explore the impact of the pandemic on a range of things by examining satellite imagery – such as airport and marine traffic, city night lights and agricultural production.

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This image published by NASA shows the average concentration of atmospheric nitrogen dioxide measured in March this year, a significant drop from a year ago.
(NASA)

“The pandemic not only left an astonishing toll of human suffering. It had a global impact that we could document from space, “said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the NASA Science Missions Directorate, in a video posted with the dashboard.

“Our three space agencies realized that if we could combine our forces, we could bring a more powerful set of analytical tools to deal with this rapidly evolving crisis.”

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In addition, the dashboard includes data on greenhouse gases, air quality and water quality.

Satellite imagery shows that the number of cars produced in China increased again in April after falling earlier in the pandemic. Previous observations have shown dramatic reductions in pollution and greenhouse gases as the closures took effect worldwide.

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