NASA: Northeast air pollution drops amid coronavirus pandemic

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) — Due to stay at home orders and advisories the amount of cars on the road have dropped significantly and NASA says its Aura satellite is already seeing a measurable change in human activity.

NASA says the change is the level of nitrogen dioxide being emitted. 

Atmospheric nitrogen dioxide is considered a dangerous air pollutant that is emitted from the burning of fossil fuels for things like transportation and the generation of electricity.

In the NASA image below of the March average from 2015 to 2019 you can see the level of air pollutant.

(NASA)

Throughout the entire March of this year, it’s a stark difference. NASA estimates the drop in air pollution to be around 30 percent in the northeast.

NASA explains that variations in the weather from year to year can cause variations in the level of air pollution. March had the lowest monthly atmospheric nitrogen dioxide levels of any March in their entire data record since 2005. 

If you look closely, the pollution levels noticeably dropped in Massachusetts as well. 

According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, a little over 3 million vehicles passed through 11 check points on major highways from April 4 to 10. Those same check points last year saw almost 10 million vehicles in the same week. 

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