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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-600
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-600
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  27 Jul 2020

27 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Sudden changes in nitrogen dioxide emissions over Greece due to lockdown after the outbreak of COVID-19

Maria-Elissavet Koukouli1, Ioanna Skoulidou1, Andreas Karavias2, Isaak Parcharidis2, Dimitris Balis1, Astrid Manders3, Arjo Segers3, Henk Eskes4, and Jos van Geffen4 Maria-Elissavet Koukouli et al.
  • 1Laboratory of Atmospheric Physics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
  • 2Department of Geography, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece
  • 3TNO, Climate, Air and Sustainability, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • 4Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), De Bilt, The Netherlands

Abstract. The unprecedented order, in modern peaceful times, for near-total lockdown of the Greek population, as means of protection against the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome CoronaVirus-2, commonly known as COVID-19, infection, has brought unintentional positive side-effects to the country's air quality levels. S5P/TROPOMI monthly mean tropospheric nitrogen dioxide (NO2) observations show an average decrease of −3 % to −26 % [−1 % to −27 %] with an average of −22 % [−11 %] for March and April 2020 respectively, compared to the previous year, over the six larger Greek metropolitan areas, attributable mostly to vehicular emission reductions. Furthermore, significant effects for shipping emissions over the Aegean Sea as well as the areas surrounding major Greek ports were observed, of approximately −12 % [−5 %]. For the capital city of Athens, weekly analysis was possible and it revealed a marked decline in NO2 load between −8 % and −43 % for seven of the eight weeks studied. Chemical transport modelling, provided by the LOTOS-EUROS CTM, shows that the magnitude of these reductions cannot solely be attributed to the difference in meteorological factors affecting NO2 levels during March and April 2020 and the equivalent time periods of the previous year. Taking this factor into account, the resulting decline was estimated to range between 0 % and −37 % for the five largest cities, with an average of ~ −10 %. As transport is the second largest sector that affects Greece's air quality, this occasion may well help policy makers in enforcing more targeted measures to aid Greece in further reducing emissions according to international air quality standards.

Maria-Elissavet Koukouli et al.

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Maria-Elissavet Koukouli et al.

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Short summary
Satellite observations contribute in recent years to monitoring air quality. During the COVID-19 lockdown, lower levels of nitrogen dioxide were observed by S5P/TROPOMI for March and April 2020, than the preceding year, over Greece due to decreased transport emissions. Taking meteorology into account, the resulting decline due to the lockdown, was estimated to range between 0 % and −37 % for the five largest Greek cities, with an average of ~ −10 %.
Satellite observations contribute in recent years to monitoring air quality. During the COVID-19...
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