ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Satellite images released by NASA and the European Space Agency on February 28 show that air pollution over China and has gone down since the coronavirus outbreak.

Production in factories across China has halted and transportation has been restricted to help prevent the virus from spreading. As of March 3, China’s total number of coronavirus cases is up to 80,151 with 2,943 deaths.

NASA’s satellite images show higher levels of nitrogen dioxide over China from January 1 to 20. Then from January 10 to 25, the gas is hardly visible from the images.

Nitrogen Dioxide primarily gets in the air from the burning of fuel. It forms from emissions from cars, trucks, buses, power plants and off-road equipment. Nitrogen Dioxide can irritate airways in the human respiratory system and cause problems like coughing, asthma, and difficulty breathing.

According to NASA scientists, the nitrogen dioxide drop was initially most visible over Wuhan, where the outbreak began.

NASA scientist say pollution in China tends to go down around the Lunar New Year since many businesses close for celebrations, however, researchers believe that the decrease is more than a holiday or weather-related variation.

NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using modified Copernicus Sentinel 5P data processed by the European Space Agency.