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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-1080
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-1080
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  26 Oct 2020

26 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Decoupling of urban CO2 and air pollutant emission reductions during the European SARS-CoV2 lockdown

Christian Lamprecht, Martin Graus, Marcus Striednig, Michael Stichaner, and Thomas Karl Christian Lamprecht et al.
  • Institute for Atmospheric and Cryospheric Sciences, University of Innsbruck, Austria

Abstract. Lockdown and the associated massive reduction in people’s mobility imposed by SARS-CoV-2 mitigation measures across the globe provide a unique sensitivity experiment to investigate impacts on carbon and air pollution emissions. We present an integrated observational analysis based on long-term in-situ multispecies eddy flux measurements, allowing to quantify near real time changes of urban surface emissions for key air quality and climate tracers. During the first European SARS-CoV-2 wave we find that the emission reduction of classic air pollutants decoupled from CO2 and was significantly larger. These differences can only be rationalized by the different nature of urban combustion sources, and point towards a systematic bias of extrapolated urban NOx emissions in state-of the art emission models. The analysis suggests that European policies, shifting residential, public and commercial energy demand towards cleaner combustion, have helped to improve air quality more than expected, and that the urban NOx flux remains to be dominated (e.g. > 90 %) by traffic.

Christian Lamprecht et al.

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Christian Lamprecht et al.

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Short summary
The first European SARS-CoV2 wave and associated lockdown provided a unique sensitivity experiment to study air pollution. We find significantly different emission trajectories between classical air pollution and climate gases (e.g. carbon dioxide). The analysis suggests that European policies, shifting residential, public and commercial energy demand towards cleaner combustion, have helped to improve air quality more than expected.
The first European SARS-CoV2 wave and associated lockdown provided a unique sensitivity...
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