The sky is truly a deeper shade of blue: Reduced levels of pollution during the shutdown make UK skies look like we're on a tropical island, scientists say

  • Drastic falls in traffic, and the resulting levels of pollution, have given the skies a rich hue that just doesn't seem to be more exotic
  • Climate professor William Collins said the air is naturally a deep blue, but pollution adds a haze that looks paler when the enemy particles absorb light
  • Another benefit in the short term is that deep blue skies have a positive psychological effect, even when we are sitting inside, to keep the bright skies in a better mood

It may seem like a cruel trick of & # 39; spirit for those who & # 39; t & # 39; There are prisoners inside – but the skies of Britain have really turned a deeper shade of blue.

Drastic falls in traffic, and the resulting levels of pollution, have given the skies a rich hue that scientists say is usually found on remote tropical islands.

Fine particles of car exhaust double the light we normally see, even on a sunny day. But with far fewer cars that choke the roads and just a fraction of the normal number of jets in the air, the air is more vibrant.

William Collins, a climate professor at the University of Reading, said the air is naturally a deep blue, but pollution adds a haze that will make it bluer as the enemy particles absorb light.

People practicing social distance on Tynemouth beach as the UK remains in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus

& # 39; The lack of traffic will have an effect, & # 39; he said, adding that there & # 39; r & # 39; no talk & # 39; was from & # 39; the current skies & # 39; the kind of blue you would expect somewhere on a beautiful tropical island. Everyone has noticed '.

The effect of reduced pollution is even more dramatic when the wind comes from the east, as it currently is.

& # 39; Right now, the wind direction across the Channel is coming from the Continent, which we would normally expect to be very polluted, and that would also make our skies more dangerous, & # 39; added Prof Collins.

Not all the effects of reduced traffic are so visible, but levels of nitrogen dioxide – which is linked to lung problems and reduced life expectancy, as well as acid rain – plummets as well.

Professor James Lee, an expert in atmospheric chemistry at & # 39; the University of York, said: & # 39; Since the refurbishment, there has been quite a large drop in nitrogen dioxide pretty uniformly in every city we've seen with 30 to 40 percent. & # 39;

But he warned that the & # 39; relatively short period of relief & # 39; probably would not be enough to make a difference to public health in the long term. & # 39; What it does show is what can be achieved, & # 39; he said.

Blue skies over a park in London to make the lack of pollution make the sky more vibrant blue

Blue skies over a park in London to make the lack of pollution make the sky more vibrant blue

& # 39; We see this as a little window in & # 39; a future, if, say, about ten, 15, 20 years from now, where a lot of your car's fleet is likely to be electric, this is what the air is going to be as in our cities.

& # 39; Secondly, people may realize when the restrictions are once lifted that we may not have to travel as much, not have to work as much in the office, and this has a direct effect on & # 39; e air and our well-being.

& # 39; I hate to say that it is an exciting time to be an atmospheric scientist, but it is so. We would never have expected that we could have something like that.

& # 39; It is a terrible thing that happens, but if there is one bright silver lining, it is that the air in & # 39; e cities is much cleaner. & # 39;

Another benefit in the short term is that deep blue skies have a positive psychological effect, even when we are inside.

& # 39; I might be in a study surrounded by computer screens, & # 39; says Prof Collins.

& # 39; But I can look out of the window and see a nice blue sky – which makes me a bit more bearable.

People are pictured making the most of Binfield Health in Oxfordshire this week

People are pictured making the most of Binfield Health in Oxfordshire this week

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