A German team, under the leadership of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry (MPIC), wants to find out how strongly the restrictions in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic will affect the atmosphere. Over the next two weeks, as part of the BLUESKY research programme, scientists will measure concentrations of trace gases and pollutants in the air over European urban areas and in the flight corridor to North America. The aim of these research missions is to investigate how reduced emissions from industry and transport are changing atmospheric chemistry and physics.
A clear blue sky without condensation trails and empty streets – this is a typical situation during the Coronavirus lockdown. Traffic, particularly air transport, and industrial production have been reduced worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are fewer aircraft in the air and vehicles on the road in Europe than before the pandemic. Air pollution has dropped by 20 to 40 percent, and daily emissions from aircraft have decreased by up to 85 percent. This means that the atmosphere is much less polluted with emissions from transport and industry. A German research team now wants to make rapid use of this unusual situation for the BLUESKY project. Scientists from DLR, the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Goethe University Frankfurt, and the research centres at Jülich and Karlsruhe intend to use two DLR research aircraft to conduct a globally unique investigation into the resulting changes in Earth's atmosphere for the first time. DLR's HALO and Falcon research aircraft have been equipped with highly specialised instrumentation and will fly over Germany, Italy, France, Great Britain and Ireland in the course of the next two weeks. They will also fly over the North Atlantic, along the flight corridor to North America.
You can read more about the BLUESKY project at this link.