Improvement in air quality and its impact on land surface temperature in major urban areas across India during the first lockdown of the pandemic.

Environmental Research
Bikash Ranjan ParidaJadunandan Dash

Abstract

The SARS CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic and the enforced lockdown have reduced the use of surface and air transportation. This study investigates the impact of the lockdown restrictions in India on atmospheric composition, using Sentinel-5Ps retrievals of tropospheric NO2 concentration and ground-station measurements of NO2 and PM2.5 between March-May in 2019 and 2020. Detailed analysis of the changes to atmospheric composition are carried out over six major urban areas (i.e. Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad) by comparing Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) and land surface temperature (LST) measurements in the lockdown year 2020 and pre-lockdown (2015-2019). Satellite-based data showed that NO2 concentration reduced by 18% (Kolkata), 29% (Hyderabad), 32-34% (Chennai, Mumbai, and Bangalore), and 43% (Delhi). Surface-based concentrations of NO2, PM2.5, and AOD also substantially dropped by 32-74%, 10-42%, and 8-34%, respectively over these major cities during the lockdown period and co-located with the intensity of anthropogenic activity. Only a smaller fraction of the reduction of pollutants was associated with meteorological variability. A substantial negative a...Continue Reading

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