Early spring near-surface ozone in Europe during the COVID-19 shutdown: meteorological effects outweigh emission changes

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Ordoñez García, Carlos and Garrido Pérez, José Manuel and García Herrera, Ricardo (2020) Early spring near-surface ozone in Europe during the COVID-19 shutdown: meteorological effects outweigh emission changes. Science of the total environment, 747 . ISSN 0048-9697, ESSN: 1879-1026

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.141322




Abstract

This paper analyses the impact of the control measures during the COVID-19 lockdown in Europe (15 March–30 April 2020) on 1-h daily maximum nitrogen dioxide (NO_(2)) and maximum daily 8-h running average ozone (MDA8 O_(3)) observations obtained from the European Environment Agency's air quality database (AirBase). Daily maximum NO_(2) decreased consistently over the whole continent, with relative reductions ranging from 5% to 55% with respect to the same period in 2015–2019 for 80% of the sites considered (10th – 90th percentiles). However, MDA8 O_(3) concentrations showed a different pattern, decreasing over Iberia and increasing elsewhere. In particular, a large region from northwestern to central Europe experienced increases of 10–22% at urban background stations, reaching typical values of the summer season. The analysis of the expected NO_(2) and O_(3) concentrations in the absence of the lockdown, using generalised additive models fed by reanalysis meteorological data, shows that the low NO_(2) concentrations were mostly attributed to the emission reductions while O_(3) anomalies were dominated by the meteorology. The relevance of each meteorological variable depends on the location. The positive O_(3) anomalies in northwestern and central Europe were mostly associated with elevated temperatures, low specific humidity and enhanced solar radiation. This pattern could be an analogue to study the limits of pollution control policies under climate change scenarios. On the other hand, the O_(3) reduction in Iberia is mostly attributable to the low solar radiation and high specific humidity, although the reduced zonal wind also played a role in the proximity of the Iberian Mediterranean coast.


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© 2020 Elsevier B.V. This work was supported by the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad [grant number RYC-2014-15036] and the Spanish Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte [grant number FPU16/ 01972]. We also acknowledge support from STEADY (CGL2017- 83198-R), project funded by the Spanish Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad. The authors are grateful to the European Environment Agency for making NO2 and O3 data available through the Air-Base air quality database as well as to NOAA/OAR/ESRL PSD for providing NCEP reanalysis data. The authors thank the anonymous reviewers and editors for their constructive and useful comments.

Uncontrolled Keywords:Troposheric ozone; Air-pollution; Ambient air; Trends; Urban; Decomposition; Switzerland; Extremes; Decrease; Increase
Subjects:Sciences > Physics > Atmospheric physics
ID Code:63288
Deposited On:09 Dec 2020 18:15
Last Modified:10 Dec 2020 10:09

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