The lockdown measures due to COVID-19 affected the industry, transportation and other human activities within China in early 2020, and subsequently the emissions of air pollutants. The decrease of atmospheric NO2 due to the COVID-19 lockdown and other factors were quantitively analyzed based on the surface concentrations by in-situ observations, the tropospheric vertical column densities (VCDs) by different satellite retrievals including OMI and TROPOMI, and the model simulations by GEOS-Chem. The results indicated that due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the surface NO2 concentrations decreased by 42% ± 8% and 26% ± 9% over China in February and March 2020, respectively. The tropospheric NO2 VCDs based on both OMI and high quality (quality assurance value (QA) ≥ 0.75) TROPOMI showed similar results as the surface NO2 concentrations. The daily variations of atmospheric NO2 during the first quarter (Q1) of 2020 were not only affected by the COVID-19 lockdown, but also by the Spring Festival (SF) holiday (January 24–30, 2020) as well as the meteorology changes due to seasonal transition. The SF holiday effect resulted in a NO2 reduction from 8 days before SF to 21 days after it (i.e. January 17 - February 15), with a maximum of 37%. From the 6 days after SF (January 31) to the end of March, the COVID-19 lockdown played an important role in the NO2 reduction, with a maximum of 51%. The meteorology changes due to seasonal transition resulted in a nearly linear decreasing trend of 25% and 40% reduction over the 90 days for the NO2 concentrations and VCDs, respectively. Comparisons between different datasets indicated that medium quality (QA ≥ 0.5) TROPOMI retrievals might suffer large biases in some periods, and thus attention must be paid when they are used for analyses, data assimilations and emission inversions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science(all)
- Atmospheric Science