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NASA Study Finds Covid-Induced Lockdowns Cut Nitrogen Oxides Emissions, Ozone by 15 Percent

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The lockdowns in 2020 helped in cutting down emissions of nitrogen oxides. According to NASA, nitrogen oxides creates ozone and poses a grave threat to climate, humans, and plants The agency said that emission was decreased by around 15 percent globally. The observation was made during a study by Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It said that pandemic forced industries to shut down. As a result, nitrogen oxides emission was slowed down. The study said that global ozone levels have dropped significantly to a new low. Policymakers feel that it would have taken more than a decade to reach the level by regulations. It said that nations that imposed stricter lockdown showed a greater reduction in emissions.

The study said that China’s emission level was dropped by nearly 50 percent. The Asian country had imposed stringent lockdown in early February 2020. The United States saw a 25 percent drop. The overall impact was that nitrogen oxides emissions reduced by a 2 percent drop. Nitrogen oxides causes ozone reductions. The JPL study said that emissions and global ozone will rise again as industries are reopening. Nitrogen oxides is produced from the reaction of oxygen and nitrogen during combustion. This increases especially when the temperature is high. The levels are often high in areas with high vehicular traffic. The emission contributes to air pollution. It damages the ecosystem slowly and causes chronic diseases in humans.

Ozone acts as a guard against harmful solar radiation. It protects them from reaching Earth. It blacks solar radiation above the stratosphere. The stratosphere is one of the layers of Earth’s atmosphere. It is the second layer and falls between the troposphere and mesosphere. It is crucial for the existence of life on Earth. According to past studies, life will become difficult without the ozone. JPL researchers measured nitrogen oxides, ozone, and other gases using NASA and ESA satellites that continuously observe Earth. They found that successive lockdowns in several countries due to Covid reduced emissions of nitrogen oxides. It ultimately reduced ozone pollution.

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