NO2 Decline Related to Restrictions Due to COVID-19 in South America

  • Released Thursday, June 18th, 2020
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:44PM
  • ID: 4835

On June 1, the World Health Organization noted that Central and South American countries have become “the intense zones” for COVID-19 transmission. The Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on board NASA’s Aura satellite provides data that indicate that restrictions on human activity have led to about a 36% decrease in NO2 levels in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, relative to previous years. Other large cities in South America show similar decreases in NO2: 36% in Santiago, Chile; 35% in São Paolo, Brazil; and 40% in Buenos Aires, Argentina. One notable exception is in Lima, Peru, showing a 69% decrease. The large decrease may partly be associated with natural variations in weather that can, for instance, disperse air pollution more quickly. Additional analysis is required to determine the amount of the decrease of NO2 in Lima that is associated with a decrease in human activity. A notable increase in NO2 occurred in northern South America, which is likely associated with increased agricultural burning in 2020 relative to previous years.

NO2, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, April 15-May 31 2015-2019, Spanish

NO2, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, April 15-May 31 2015-2019, Spanish

NO2, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, April 15-May 31 2020, Spanish

NO2, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, April 15-May 31 2020, Spanish

NO2, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, April 15-May 31 2015-2019, English

NO2, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, April 15-May 31 2015-2019, English

NO2, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, April 15-May 31 2020, English

NO2, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, April 15-May 31 2020, English



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