COVID-19 lockdowns induced land surface temperature variability in mega urban agglomerations in India.

Environmental Science. Processes & Impacts
Dhruv NandaDebadatta Swain

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic forced a nationwide lockdown in India for months when close to 1.3 billion people were confined to their homes. An abrupt halt in the majority of the urban activities reduced the generation of anthropogenic heat which often exacerbates the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect in the urban pockets of the country. We studied the lockdown impact on seven highly populated and polluted mega urban agglomerations across India, namely Delhi, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai, using near-anniversary Landsat 8 data. The results revealed that the lockdowns have improved the air quality and reduced the Land Surface Temperature (LST) and hence the UHI effect over these cities. Each of the cities experienced an improved Air Quality Index (AQI) ranging from 18 to 151 units except Chennai (with a marginal 8 units increase in AQI), a decrease in mean LST in the range of 0.27 °C to 7.06 °C except Kolkata which showed an increment by ∼4 °C, and a reduction in daily averaged air temperature ranging from 0.3 °C to 10.88 °C except Hyderabad which witnessed an increase of 0.09 °C during the lockdown (April 2020) compared to the previous years (April 2019 and 2018). Delhi exhibited the maximum positive impact...Continue Reading

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