Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-534
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-534

  19 Jul 2021

19 Jul 2021

Review status: this preprint was under review for the journal ACP. A revision for further review has not been submitted.

Air quality impacts of COVID-19 lockdown measures detected from space using high spatial resolution observations of multiple trace gases from Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI

Pieternel F. Levelt1,2, Deborah C. Stein Zweers1, Ilse Aben3, Maite Bauwens4, Tobias Borsdorff3, Isabelle De Smedt4, Henk J. Eskes1, Christophe Lerot4, Diego G. Loyola5, Fabian Romahn5, Trissevgeni Stavrakou4, Nicolas Theys4, Michel Van Roozendael4, J. Pepijn Veefkind1,2, and Tijl Verhoelst4 Pieternel F. Levelt et al.
  • 1Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), De Bilt, 3731GA, The Netherlands
  • 2University of Technology Delft (TU Delft), Delft, 2628 CN, the Netherlands
  • 3Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON), Utrecht, 3584 CA, The Netherlands
  • 4Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB), Brussels, 1180, Belgium
  • 5German Aerospace Centre (DLR), Oberpfaffenhofen, Wessling, 82234, Germany

Abstract. The aim of this paper is two-fold: to provide guidance on how to best interpret TROPOMI trace gas retrievals and to highlight how TROPOMI trace gas data can be used to understand event-based impacts on air quality from regional to city-scales around the globe. For this study, we present the observed changes in the atmospheric column amounts of five trace gases (NO2, SO2, CO, HCHO and CHOCHO) detected by the Sentinel-5P TROPOMI instrument, driven by reductions of anthropogenic emissions due to COVID-19 lockdown measures in 2020. We report clear COVID-19-related decreases in NO2 concentrations on all continents. For megacities, reductions in column amounts of tropospheric NO2 range between 14 % and 63 %. For China and India supported by NO2 observations, where the primary source of anthropogenic SO2 is coal-fired power generation, we were able to detect sector-specific emission changes using the SO2 data. For HCHO and CHOCHO, we consistently observe anthropogenic changes in two-week averaged column amounts over China and India during the early phases of the lockdown periods. That these variations over such a short time scale are detectable from space, is due to the high resolution and improved sensitivity of the TROPOMI instrument. For CO, we observe a small reduction over China which is in concert with the other trace gas reductions observed during lockdown, however large, interannual differences prevent firm conclusions from being drawn. The joint analysis of COVID-19 lockdown-driven reductions in satellite observed trace gas column amounts, using the latest operational and scientific retrieval techniques for five species concomitantly is unprecedented. However, the meteorologically and seasonally driven variability of the five trace gases does not allow for drawing fully quantitative conclusions on the reduction of anthropogenic emissions based on TROPOMI observations alone. We anticipate that in future, the combined use of inverse modelling techniques with the high spatial resolution data from S5P/TROPOMI for all observed trace gases presented here, will yield a significantly improved sector-specific, space-based analysis of the impact of COVID-19 lockdown measures as compared to other existing satellite observations. Such analyses will further enhance the scientific impact and societal relevance of the TROPOMI mission.

Pieternel F. Levelt et al.

Status: closed (peer review stopped)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-534', Anonymous Referee #1, 08 Aug 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Deborah Claire Stein Zweers, 12 Oct 2021
  • RC2: 'Review of acp-2021-534', Anonymous Referee #2, 20 Aug 2021

Status: closed (peer review stopped)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-534', Anonymous Referee #1, 08 Aug 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Deborah Claire Stein Zweers, 12 Oct 2021
  • RC2: 'Review of acp-2021-534', Anonymous Referee #2, 20 Aug 2021

Pieternel F. Levelt et al.

Pieternel F. Levelt et al.

Viewed

Total article views: 728 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
458 258 12 728 4 2
  • HTML: 458
  • PDF: 258
  • XML: 12
  • Total: 728
  • BibTeX: 4
  • EndNote: 2
Views and downloads (calculated since 19 Jul 2021)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 19 Jul 2021)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 754 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 754 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
1
 
 
 
 

Cited

Latest update: 23 Oct 2021
Download
Short summary
Using the COVID-19 lockdown periods as an example, we show how the Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI trace gas data (NO2, SO2, CO, HCHO and CHOCHO) can be used to understand impacts on air quality for regions and cities around the globe. We also provide information for both experienced and inexperienced users about how we created the data using state-of-the-art algorithms, where to get the data, methods taking meteorological and seaonal variability into consideration, and insights for future studies.
Altmetrics