Measures against COVID-19 significantly improve air quality
The following maps show the current particulate matter concentrations over Europe and Germany.Copyright: Gunnar Ketzler
Only rarely has air quality been as good over large areas of Europe as it is now. The EU Air Quality Index is very favourable, particularly in those countries where significant changes in everyday life (traffic, production, etc.) are currently taking effect to protect against infection (Fig. 1).
This is also noticeable in the Euregio Meuse-Rhine: the particulate matter concentrations are extremely low, mostly below 5 µg/m³ air. Only at individual measuring sites the values are slightly higher. The data from the PMLAB project, in which the Geographical Institute is involved, show the current situation (Fig. 2).
Presently, easterly winds predominate, leading continental air masses to Central Europe, as shown by the visualization of HYSPLIT data for different air layers (Fig. 3). These are normally preloaded by natural dust; further particulate matter originates from domestic and industrial sources in Eastern Europe and from German sources (traffic, etc.). Up to 100 µg/m³ are possible under similar weather conditions.