NASA, ESA create tool to produce a global view of COVID-19 impacts

Washington: ESA, NASA and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) have created a new tool that combines a huge amount of data from Earth-observing satellites to monitor the worldwide impacts of COVID-19. This new online platform is now available to the public.

The new ‘COVID-19 Earth Observation Dashboard’ integrates multiple satellite data records from the three space agencies with analytical tools to allow users to track changes in air and water quality, climate change, economic activity and agriculture. The tri-agency platform gives the general public and policy-makers a unique platform to explore the short and long term impacts of the coronavirus lockdown.

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ESA’s Director for Earth Observation, Josef Aschbacher, observed that the changing patterns of human activity as seen from space had a visible impact on the planet and combining resources could bring powerful new analytical tool to bear the fast moving Coronavirus crisis.

Air quality changes, for example, were one of the first-noticed impacts as a result of the restrictions put in place to control Covid-19. Nitrogen dioxide, which is caused by fumes from sclerotic traffic, the burning of fossil fuels, as well as industrial activity, show up clearly in satellite data.

Changes in carbon dioxide are also highlighted in the dashboard to monitor how global and local reactions to the pandemic have changed concentrations of this greenhouse gas. The dashboard allows for the short-term and long-term changes in carbon dioxide on a global scale, as well as observations in selected urban areas such as New York, San Francisco and Delhi.

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The dashboard will continue to be expanded with new data added over the following months and new sections will be added. The COVID-19 Earth Observation Dashboard is available here: https://eodashboard.org.

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