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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  05 Oct 2020

05 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Changes in black carbon emissions over Europe due to COVID-19 lockdowns

Nikolaos Evangeliou1, Stephen M. Platt1, Sabine Eckhardt1, Cathrine Lund Myhre1, Paolo Laj2,3,4, Lucas Alados-Arboledas5,6, John Backman7, Benjamin T. Brem8, Markus Fiebig1, Harald Flentje9, Angela Marinoni10, Marco Pandolfi11, Jesus Yus-Dìez11, Natalia Prats12, Jean P. Putaud13, Karine Sellegri14, Mar Sorribas15, Konstantinos Eleftheriadis16, Stergios Vratolis16, Alfred Wiedensohler17, and Andreas Stohl18 Nikolaos Evangeliou et al.
  • 1Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU), Department of Atmospheric and Climate Research (ATMOS), Kjeller, Norway
  • 2University of Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IRD, Grenoble-INP, IGE, 38000 Grenoble, France
  • 3CNR-ISAC, National Research Council of Italy – Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Bologna, Italy
  • 4University of Helsinki,Atmospheric Science division, Helsinki, Finland
  • 5Andalusian Institute for Earth System Research (IISTA-CEAMA), Granada, Spain
  • 6Department of Applied Physics, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
  • 7Atmospheric Composition Research, Finnish Meteorologica Institute, Helsinki, Finland
  • 8Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen PSI, Switzerland
  • 9Deutscher Wetterdienst, Meteorologisches Observatorium Hohenpeissenberg, Albin-Schwaiger-Weg 10, 82383 Hohenpeissenberg, Germany
  • 10Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council of Italy (ISAC-CNR), 40121, Bologna, Italy
  • 11Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research IDAEA-CSIC, C/Jordi Girona 2418-26, Barcelona 08034, Spain
  • 12Izaña Atmospheric Research Center, State Meteorological Agency (AEMET), C/LaMarina 2620, 38001, Tenerife, Spain
  • 13European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Via Enrico Fermi 2749, Ispra (VA) 2821027, Italy
  • 14Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique, UMR6016, CNRS/UBP, 63178 Aubière, France
  • 15El Arenosillo Atmospheric Sounding Station, Atmospheric Research and Instrumentation Branch, National Institute for Aerospace Technology, 21130 Huelva, Spain
  • 16Environmental Radioactivity Lab, Institute of Nuclear & Radiological Sciences & Technology, Energy & Safety, NCSR “Demokritos”, Ag. Paraskevi, Athens, Greece
  • 17Department Experimental Aerosol and Cloud Microphysics, Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig, Germany
  • 18Department of Meteorology and Geophysics, University of Vienna, UZAII, Althanstraße 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria

Abstract. Following the emergence of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) responsible for COVID-19 in December 2019 in Wuhan (China) and its spread to the rest of the world, the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic in March 2020. Without effective treatment in the initial pandemic phase, social distancing and mandatory quarantines were introduced as the only available preventative measure. Despite the socioeconomic impacts, air quality improved due to lower pollutant emissions. Here we investigate the effects of the COVID-19 lockdowns on ambient black carbon (BC), which affects climate and damages health, using in-situ observations from 17 European stations in a Bayesian inversion framework. BC emissions declined by 11 % in Europe (20 % in Italy, 32 % in Germany, 20 % in Spain) during lockdown compared to the same period in the previous five years. BC temporal variation in the countries enduring the most drastic restrictions showed the most distinct lockdown impacts. Increased particle light absorption in at the beginning of the lockdown, confirmed by assimilated satellite and remote sensing data, suggests residential combustion was the dominant BC source. Accordingly, in Central and Eastern Europe, which experienced lower than average temperatures, BC was elevated compared to the previous five years. Except for the comparison of BC emissions in the lockdown with the previous five years, an immediate decrease was also seen, as compared with the period before the lockdown, which averaged about 10 % over Europe. Such a decrease was not seen in the previous years, which also confirms an impact on BC emissions from COVID-19.

Nikolaos Evangeliou et al.

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Nikolaos Evangeliou et al.

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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Following the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to Europe, social distancing rules were introduced to prevent further spread. We investigate the impacts of the European lockdowns on black carbon (BC) emissions by means of in-situ observations and inverse modelling. BC emissions declined by 11 % in Europe during the lockdown as compared with previous years and 10 % as compared with the period prior to lockdowns. Residential combustion prevailed in Eastern Europe as confirmed from remote sensing data.
Following the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to Europe, social distancing rules were introduced to...