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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-903
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-903
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  09 Oct 2020

09 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Impact of reduced anthropogenic emissions during COVID-19 on air quality in India

Mengyuan Zhang1, Apit Katiyar2, Shengqiang Zhu1, Juanyong Shen3, Men Xia4, Jinlong Ma1, Sri Harsha Kota2, Peng Wang4, and Hongliang Zhang1,5 Mengyuan Zhang et al.
  • 1Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Fudan University, Shanghai 200438, China
  • 2Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, 110016, India
  • 3School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China
  • 4Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong SAR, 99907, China
  • 5Institute of Eco-Chongming (IEC), Shanghai 200062, China

Abstract. To mitigate the impacts of the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Indian government implemented lockdown measures on March 24, 2020, which prohibit unnecessary anthropogenic activities and thus leading to a significant reduction in emissions. To investigate the impacts of this lockdown measures on air quality in India, we used the Community Multi-Scale Air Quality (CMAQ) model to estimate the changes of key air pollutants. From pre-lockdown to lockdown periods, improved air quality is observed in India, indicated by the lower key pollutant levels such as PM2.5 (−26 %), maximum daily 8-h average ozone (MDA8 O3) (−11 %), NO2 (−50 %), and SO2 (−14 %). In addition, changes in these pollutants show distinct spatial variations with the more important decrease in northern and western India. During the lockdown, our results illustrate that such emission reductions play a positive role in the improvement of air quality. Significant reductions of PM2.5 and its major components are observed especially for secondary inorganic aerosols with the decreasing rates up to 92 %, 57 %, and 79 % for nitrate (NO3), sulfate (SO42−), ammonium (NH4+), respectively. On average, the MDA8 O3 also decreases 15 % during the lockdown period although it increases sparsely in some urban locations, which is mainly due to the lower NOx and VOCs emissions. More aggressive and localized emissions control strategies should be implemented in India to mitigate air pollutions in the future.

Mengyuan Zhang et al.

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Latest update: 19 Oct 2020
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Short summary
We studied changes in air quality in India induced by the lockdown of COVID-19 through both surface observations and the CMAQ model. Our results show that emission reductions have improved the air quality across India during the lockdown. On average, the levels of PM2.5 and O3 have decreased by 28% and 15%, indicating positive effects of lockdown measures. We suggest that more stringent and localized emissions control strategies should be implemented in India to mitigate air pollutions.
We studied changes in air quality in India induced by the lockdown of COVID-19 through both...
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