Earth  ID: 11574

Nitrogen Dioxide Reduction Across the Northeast Corridor

Anyone living in the U.S. for the past decade may have noticed a change in the air. The change is apparent in NASA satellite images that demonstrate the country's reduction of air pollution, or more specifically, nitrogen dioxide.

Nitrogen dioxide can impact the respiratory system, and it also contributes to the formation of other pollutants including ground-level ozone and particulates. The gas is produced primarily during the combustion of gasoline in vehicle engines and coal in power plants. Air pollution has decreased even though population and the number of cars on the roads have increased. The shift is the result of regulations, technology improvements and economic changes, scientists say.

This visualization shows tropospheric column concentrations of nitrogen dioxide as detected by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument on NASA's Aura satellite, averaged yearly from 2005-2011. Blue and green denote lower concentrations and orange and red areas denote higher concentrations, ranging from 1e+15 to 5e+15 molecules per square centimeter, respectively.

Pollution builds up along the U.S. East Coast as it passes from one city to the next, particularly in the Northeast Corridor. These cities include Richmond, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, Boston and all the smaller cities in between. Some of the largest absolute changes in nitrogen dioxide have occurred in this corridor.

 

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Credits

Trent L. Schindler (USRA): Animator
Kayvon Sharghi (USRA): Producer
Bryan Duncan (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Lok Lamsal (USRA): Scientist
Yasuko Yoshida (SSAI): Scientist
Aaron E. Lepsch (ADNET): Project Support
Kathryn Hansen (Wyle Information Systems): Writer
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NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio

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NASA Science >> Earth