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New NASA research projects probe COVID-19 impacts

(Xinhua)    09:26, July 28, 2020

NASA has initiated new research projects focused on how the human response to COVID-19 has affected the environment, like how air quality has improved in the wake of reduced vehicular traffic in many places, according to a NASA release on Monday.

A team led by University of Maryland scientist and NASA Harvest data lead Michael Humber is working on a project that brings all of the relevant Earth science data together to monitor the development of crop conditions globally, and to address food security risks caused by the economic downturn and related unemployment.

The information available through the tool will provide policymakers, humanitarian organizations, and others with vital information needed to respond to supply disruptions and other challenges proactively and to make the best decisions for their respective communities.

Another new project is preserving water supply forecasts with remote sensing.

The team led by University of Colorado scientist Noah Molotch hopes to minimize disruptions to the water supply forecasts on which so many water and agricultural professionals rely.

The third new project uses satellite-derived synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data to assess the effects of reductions in activity during the COVID-19 pandemic on virus control and on the environment.

Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Earth Observatory of Singapore used SAR data to provide citywide maps that quantify the changes in activity, both the slowing down due to lockdowns and the gradual increase as governments decide to reopen.

These maps will help better understand how activity reductions correspond to different cities' levels of success in controlling virus outbreaks, and how those reductions correspond to observed improvements in environmental conditions like air quality, according to the researchers.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Liang Jun)

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