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COVID-19 and the Edinburgh congestion charge V

Environmental impact of the Covid19 lockdown on air pollution – a short video



Video produced as part of the EVERYONE project charting NO2 pollution across Scotland during the Covid19 lockdown.

The many features to be seen in the video are caused by a combination of anthropogenic emissions, meterorlogical events and the COVID-19 outbreak.

They include:

  • High emissions from the conurbations of Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow.
  • Distinctive local emissions from Stornoway, Peterhead and towns along the Moray Firth.
  • Traffic emissions along the A9’s distinctive Z-shape, between Pitlochry and Inverness, allowing other Highland landmarks to be placed.
  • Long distance transport of pollution from Belfast, Newcastle and the Middlesburgh/Darlington area.
  • The serpentine route of the M8 between Abington and Lancaster.
  • High road-traffice emissions in rush hours.
  • Emissions associated with offshore production platforms (diesel engine NOx emissions) and oil instalations on Shetland.
  • Build up of strong concentrations during planetary boundary layer (inversion) events.
  • Low pressure depressions passing through.
  • A sharp drop in emissions during the COVID-19 lockdown (24 March onwards).

Computer modelling and graphics: Massimo Vieno
Senior Air Pollution Modeller
Biosphere-atmosphere Exchange & Effects Group
UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian, EH26 0QB, UK

Science advisor: Roy Thompson
School of GeoSciences
Edinburgh University

Coordinator: Stacey Hunter
Design Curator + Producer
Local Heroes
Creative Floor,
37a Castle Terrace,
Edinburgh, EH1 2EL

Audio: Ludwig van Beethoven
The Piano Sonata No. 14 in C minor “Quasi una fantasia”, Opus number 2, popularly known as the Moonlight Sonata
Credit : YouTube Audio Library & (No Copyright Music) Royalty-Free for Videos.

5 replies to “COVID-19 and the Edinburgh congestion charge V”

  1. Kirsteen Masson U3A local history group says:

    How lovely. A perfect combination of music and visuals.

    1. thompson says:

      Kirsteen, Many thanks. I could never have produced it without the input from the Residency Artists.

      Other reactions have been:

      Hi Roy, A friend outside the university, into art and climate justice, and not one who knows you at all, watched at my suggestion and commented: “Wasn’t Professor T the absolute bees’ knees?!! I shall start ‘following’ him, not in a creepy way, you understand!”

      Roy, “Thank you for introducing me to “Space & Satellites Work in Progress”. An interesting concept. What a lovely honour to be invited to perform on that webinar. Your presentation was excellent. I have much to learn from you. My about-to-become 15 year old neighbour is considering a career in GeoSciences. With that in mind, I have directed him to your blog.”

      Roy, “I amazed myself by accessing Zoom, and I understood more than I expected to, so thank you for including me. As to the tapestry, I was overjoyed to find Anni Albers mentioned a few times. I love Bauhaus, Black Mountain College, etc. Now what we need is a Congestion charge in Edinburgh. Good luck in campaigning for that!”

      “[Some] slides were unnecessary and not appropriate to our seminar principles … could you not include any such content in future presentations, as In keeping with our GC [sic] seminar series our seminar speakers are role models for students in the audience.“
      – Anonymous e-mail – perhaps referring to slide #14

  2. Bob Thornton says:

    A dramatic and fearsome representation. There is a beauty though In its apparent destructiveness.

    1. thompson says:


      Yes, it became very apparent to us in the art/science collaboration of how important the colour scheme can be for setting the mood. There is no shortage of possibilities for any future efforts-

      Colours commonly used to identify emotions:

      Red: Anger, embarrassment, passion, or lust.
      Blue: Shyness, sadness, or calmness.
      Yellow: Cowardice, happiness, or caution.
      Green: Disgust, envy, friendliness, or greed.
      Purple: Pride, fear, or courageousness
      Grey: Depression, regular sadness, or stoicism.
      Black: Coldness or mournfulness.
      Pink: Cheeriness, embarrassment, or love.
      White: Shock, fear, coldness, or mournfulness.

  3. steve cassidy says:

    I liked this very much. Thanks

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