If you’re looking for a glimmer of good news during the coronavirus outbreak, we’ve got you covered. Air quality data across the United States and globe has drastically improved. Air pollution has been reduced as more cities have adopted and adhered to shelter in place orders.
Check out a recent photo of the Los Angeles skyline from Echo Park this past week in the image above, compared to a similarly sunny day last year.
Dr. Yifang Zhu, an environmental quality researcher at UCLA, has noted an 80% reduction in automobile traffic and 20% boost in air quality since March.
In the above chart, it is the longest stretch of “good” air in Los Angeles since 1995.
The sky is looking bluer in Queens, New York as well:
Here's the NYC skyline from my window in Woodside, #Queens.
Left: Sunday, April 14, 2019, 9:13 a.m.
Right: Sunday, April 12, 2020, 9:13 a.m.
We don't want to go "back to normal." Let's move forward with a sustainable and just environment and economy. pic.twitter.com/dyVF15XvPC
— Laura Shepard (@LAShepard221) April 12, 2020
For a live view of air quality across the globe, we recommend this really cool interactive tool from IQAir:
You can clearly see in the image above just how different the air quality is in North America right now compared to Asia.
Fewer people are driving cars, airplanes are grounded, and dirty power plants and manufacturing centers are less active than they were several weeks ago.
Improvements in ground level ozone and fine particle pollution have a huge effect on public health. According to a 2019 study from the National Academy of Sciences, over 100,000 Americans die from causes directly attributed to air pollutants every year. That’s an amount at pace with car accidents and half as much as the forecasted deaths from the coronavirus in the United States.
While it’s inevitable these air quality levels will deteriorate as our economy gets ramped back up again after the virus abates, it’s a good time to consider how to make more positive and lasting changes to the ways we move around the world and use energy.
“From the society level, I think we need to think really hard about how to bring about a more sustainable world, where technologies and policies come together to bring us cleaner energy,” said Zhu in an recent interview with CNN.
decreased air pollution due to social distancing. I caution against too much celebration. Will probably change when things "normalize." As a climate scientist, I often have people tell me to my face that mankind cannot affect the weather and climate. THIS Graphic via @NASA @CNBC pic.twitter.com/9SCOVLLxP2
— Marshall Shepherd (@DrShepherd2013) April 10, 2020
It’s clear just from the images above how our united actions can have huge measurable impacts. Now is a good time to reflect and think through how we can all participate in a renewable energy future.
With new, clean energy sources like residential solar panels to help generate electricity, exciting solar technology and battery backup solutions available for homes or businesses to install, we can all at the very least explore doing our part to extend the health effects of cleaner air beyond the current crisis.
To begin the process of mapping out your home solar project, connect with one of our solar installation experts.
Last modified: April 13, 2020