In the wake of all this doom and gloom, something extraordinary has unfolded around us. You can almost smell it in the air and you most undoubtedly can see it in the sky above us. Large cities around the world are reporting something beyond belief – air pollution levels are falling!

The silver lining to this world-wide lock-down due to the spread of COVID-19 (corona-virus) is the unthinkable decline in air pollution.

NASA is studying whether there are long-term responses from our planet caused by changes in human activity patterns due to recent and expanding corona-virus quarantines. NASA is reporting a 30% decline in air pollution over Northeast U.S.

Over the past several weeks, NASA satellite measurements have revealed significant reductions in air pollution over the major metropolitan areas of the Northeast United States. Similar reductions have been observed in other regions of the world. These recent improvements in air quality have come at a high cost, as communities grapple with widespread lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders as a result of the spread of COVID-19.

There will be tons of data to evaluate over the next few weeks, months, and perhaps even years. Various scientists around the world are tracking air quality changes, such as the drop in nitrogen dioxide, and other air pollutants, over major urban areas around the world. However, NASA’s current data suggests that human activities, or should we say, lack thereof, during this pandemic points to significant results of what happens when factories go idle and city streets turn into eerie ghost towns.

NASA is exploring additional ways to leverage its expertise and capabilities to help others address the corona-virus response. NASA is asking its employees to submit ideas for solutions especially relevant to fighting the virus via an internal crowd-sourcing website.

For more information on NASA’s response to corona-virus, visit HERE.

This literal “breath of fresh air” is a wake up call. It suggests we need to focus more on serious efforts to build better solutions to combat air pollution.