Stunning NASA images show drop in pollution over China amid coronavirus outbreak

Coronavirus is clearing the air in China.

Stunning aerial images of Earth show a drastic decrease in pollution levels over northern China in the past month, as entire towns the size of New York City have been shut down amid the deadly outbreak.

The images, produced by NASA and the European Space Agency, compare air quality between Jan. 1 and Jan. 20 with pollution levels between Feb. 10 and 25 — and the difference in nitrogen dioxide concentration is stunning.

In a typical February, NO2 levels surge after Chinese New Year celebrations, as factories reopen and more vehicles take to the roads following the annual holiday.

This year was an exception, as the coronavirus emerged in mid-January, just as celebrations were getting underway.

“This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop-off over such a wide area for a specific event,” said NASA researcher Fei Liu, adding there was a similar change in air quality following the 2008 recession.

As of Saturday afternoon, 79,251 cases had been reported in China, according to Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking the virus.

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