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The blockade of COVID-19 has improved India’s atmospheric environment




Scientists at the University of Southampton (UK) and Central University of Jharkhand (India) found that the first COVID-19 blockade in India improved air quality and lowered surface temperatures in major urban areas around the world. It was shown that it was done. Country.

Studies have shown that the mobility and work restrictions imposed in the early days of the pandemic have significantly improved the environment as industrial activity has declined sharply and land and air transport use has declined significantly. ..

The international team used data from various earth observation sensors, such as the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5p and NASA’s MODIS sensor, to measure changes in surface temperature, air pollutants, and aerosols. They concentrated on six major cities, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, and compared lockdown data from March to May 2020 with pre-pandemic years.

Their findings published in the journal Environmental researchProvides strong evidence of potential environmental benefits through the implementation of larger policies.

Researchers have shown a significant reduction in nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a greenhouse gas emitted from the burning of fossil fuels. This represents an average reduction of 12% across India and an average of 31.5% in six cities. It was reduced by 40% compared to the capital city of New Delhi. In India alone, poor air quality causes about 16,000 premature deaths each year.

In this study, the surface temperature (LST) of major cities in India also dropped significantly in contrast to the previous five-year average (2015-2019), with daytime temperatures up to 1 ° C and nighttime temperatures. Temperatures have dropped by up to 2 ° C. cooler.

Lockdown provided a natural experiment to understand the link between urbanization and the microclimate of the region. It was clearly observed that the decrease in air pollutants (due to the decrease in anthropogenic activity during lockdown) resulted in a decrease in day and night temperature in the area. This is an important discovery to incorporate into the planning of sustainable urban development. “

Jadu Dash, Co-author Professor University of Southampton

In addition to surface temperature, atmospheric flux on the surface and top of the atmosphere has also decreased significantly in major regions of India. Lower greenhouse gas concentrations, higher atmospheric water vapor content, and meteorological conditions have played a complex role in lowering temperatures on land and near the surface.

Dr. Bikash Parida of Jharkhand Central University said of the study: Sources of organic carbon (OC), black carbon (BC), mineral dust, sea salt, etc. have also been significantly reduced. In addition, in central India, the increase in AOD is due to the increase in dust aerosols transported from the western Thar Desert region. It was due to the supply. “

Dr. Gareth Roberts of the University of Southampton said, “Satellite equipment plays an important role in obtaining information on the global environment in a timely manner. This study is an earth observation to monitor changes in air pollutants. It demonstrates the importance of data. It emphasizes health risks and the impact of anthropogenic activities on the air quality of the region. “


Journal reference:

Parida, BR, Et al. (2021) Improvement of air quality and impact on surface temperature in major urban areas throughout India during the first pandemic blockade. Environmental research.


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