MERI Continuous Air Quality Monitoring During COVID-19 Pandemic

Improved air quality has been the silver lining of the pandemic. We see a big change in air quality as less people are driving and industrial activity is down about 60%. Meadowlands Environmental Research Institute continuously measures air quality from sensors located on the roof of 1 Dekorte Park Plaza in Lyndhurst. We observe a significant drop in greenhouse gases when we compare April 2019 with April 2020. During this period, carbon dioxide (CO2) in our area decreased 18%, Carbon monoxide (CO) decreased 14%, and Nitrous Oxides (NOx) decreased 37%. However, surface ozone (O3) can be destroyed by NOx, so when nitrogen dioxide pollution goes down, the ozone level increases. As a result, although air quality has largely improved during COVID-19 shutdown, surface ozone can still be a problem.