• economic recession;
  • pollution;
  • satellite observations;
  • in situ measurements;
  • trace gases

[1] Using both satellite observations of tropospheric NO2 columns and a number of economic metrics, we investigate the impact of the economic crisis (from 2008 onward) on air quality over Greece, and Athens in particular. The multiannual analysis shows that NO2 columns over Athens have been significantly reduced in the range 30–40%. This decline is further supported by surface measurements of atmospheric NO2 mixing ratios. Additionally, the declining local concentrations of NO, CO, and SO2 are associated with an increase in ozone due to reduced titration by NO. In particular, regression analysis revealed that the reduction of NO2 (0.3 ± 0.2 ppbv y−1) and SO2 (0.2 ± 0.1 ppbv y−1) during the period 2000–2007, significantly accelerated during the economic crisis period (from 2008 onward), reaching 2.3 ± 0.2 ppbv y−1 and 0.7 ± 0.1 ppbv y−1, respectively. The strong correlations between pollutant concentrations and economic indicators show that the economic recession has resulted in proportionally lower levels of pollutants in large parts of Greece.