Modeling the impact of COVID-19 on air quality in southern California: implications for future control policies.

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Date: June 9, 2021
From: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics(Vol. 21, Issue 11)
Publisher: Copernicus GmbH
Document Type: Brief article
Length: 282 words

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Abstract :

In response to the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19), California issued statewide stay-at-home orders, bringing about abrupt and dramatic reductions in air pollutant emissions. This crisis offers us an unprecedented opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of emission reductions in terms of air quality. Here we use the Weather Research and Forecasting model with Chemistry (WRF-Chem) in combination with surface observations to study the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown measures on air quality in southern California. Based on activity level statistics and satellite observations, we estimate the sectoral emission changes during the lockdown. Due to the reduced emissions, the population-weighted concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM.sub.2.5) decrease by 15 % in southern California. The emission reductions contribute 68 % of the PM.sub.2.5 concentration decrease before and after the lockdown, while meteorology variations contribute the remaining 32 %. Among all chemical compositions, the PM.sub.2.5 concentration decrease due to emission reductions is dominated by nitrate and primary components. For O.sub.3 concentrations, the emission reductions cause a decrease in rural areas but an increase in urban areas; the increase can be offset by a 70 % emission reduction in anthropogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These findings suggest that a strengthened control on primary PM.sub.2.5 emissions and a well-balanced control on nitrogen oxides and VOC emissions are needed to effectively and sustainably alleviate PM.sub.2.5 and O.sub.3 pollution in southern California.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A664619491