Research ArticleCORONAVIRUS

Global tropospheric ozone responses to reduced NOx emissions linked to the COVID-19 worldwide lockdowns

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  09 Jun 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 24, eabf7460
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abf7460


Efforts to stem the transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) led to rapid, global ancillary reductions in air pollutant emissions. Here, we quantify the impact on tropospheric ozone using a multiconstituent chemical data assimilation system. Anthropogenic NOx emissions dropped by at least 15% globally and 18 to 25% regionally in April and May 2020, which decreased free tropospheric ozone by up to 5 parts per billion, consistent with independent satellite observations. The global total tropospheric ozone burden declined by 6TgO3 (∼2%) in May and June 2020, largely due to emission reductions in Asia and the Americas that were amplified by regionally high ozone production efficiencies (up to 4 TgO3/TgN). Our results show that COVID-19 mitigation left a global atmospheric imprint that altered atmospheric oxidative capacity and climate radiative forcing, providing a test of the efficacy of NOx emissions controls for co-benefiting air quality and climate.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Advances