Earth, Space, and Environmental Chemistry

Importance of Meteorology and Chemistry in Determining Air Pollutant Levels During COVID-19 Lockdown in Indian Cities



To accurately quantify impact of short-term interventions (such as COVID-19 lockdown) on air pollutant levels, meteorology and atmospheric chemistry need to be considered in addition to emission changes. We demonstrate that regional sources have a significant influence on PM2.5 levels in Delhi and Hyderabad due to the small reduction calculated post-lockdown after weather-normalization, indicating that future PM2.5 mitigation strategies should focus on national-scale, as well as local sources. Furthermore, we demonstrate with field measurements that ozone production in Delhi is likely volatile organic compound (VOC)-limited, in agreement with previous modelling predictions, indicating that ozone mitigation should focus on dominant VOC sources. This work highlights the complexity in developing mitigation strategies for air pollution due to its non-linear relationships with emissions, chemistry and meteorology.


Thumbnail image of Impact of lockdown on air quality in Indian cities - final for chemxriv.pdf