Analysis of Impact of COVID-19 on Nitrogen Dioxide and Sulfur Dioxide Concentrations Across the Northeastern United States, 2019-2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has been called a ‘natural experiment’ in which to analyze the relationship between anthropogenic activities and emissions from fossil fuels. Preliminary studies from NASA satellite monitoring show a decline in commuting for work and reduced electrical consumption are related to a decline in air pollution as evidenced by atmospheric measures of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). This study explores this relationship further by comparing rates of SO2 and NO2 using data from NASA’s Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) and second Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA-2) Model, gathered from NASA’s GIOVANNI web GIS application. The data are collected at 0.25 by 0.25 degrees (OMI) and 0.5 by 0.625 degrees (MERRA-2) spatial resolution. Preliminary results indicate substantial differences in measures of both tropospheric column SO2 and NO2in the New York City metro area, along the I-95 corridor, and across the state of Pennsylvania.