Pollution Reveals What Russian Statistics Obscure

Rather than showing an economy that suffered an initial shock and has since stabilized, this data reveals an industrial sector that, for the most part, has declined even further as the war has continued.

This unusual bird’s-eye view of Russia’s economy comes courtesy of the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite, launched in 2017. To monitor the release of pollutants into the atmosphere, the satellite has a cutting-edge Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument, known as Tropomi, which can detect gases such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, formaldehyde, methane and others.

In a partnership with the ESA, these images are collected by QuantCube Technology, a Paris-based provider of novel data sets, largely for institutional investors such as hedge funds, banks and corporations. In particular, QuantCube tracks the amount of nitrogen dioxide, produced by the burning of coal, gas and diesel, as is common in factories.

More about the methodology can be found in this paper: