STI’s Dr. Pawan Gupta’s analysis is instrumental in showing how data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite shows how aerosol levels in Northern India are decreasing during the country’s COVID-19 lockdown. MODIS 20 years of aerosol records have been analyzed to quantify the change in aerosol loading during the lockdown period. The mean aerosol levels have decreased in the northern regions by more than 50% as compared to the climatological mean during the first two weeks of the lockdown, which began on March 25. In many places, satellite observations show the lowest aerosol loading in two decades of data records. It is important to note that the favorable weather conditions, along with the shutdown of emission sources, played a role in observed lower values. The decrease in atmospheric aerosols loading indicates improved air quality, which is confirmed by ground monitoring network across Indian cities.
Images credit: NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Terra MODIS analysis courtesy of Pawan Gupta/USRA/NASA.