A satellite-data-driven framework to rapidly quantify air-basin-scale NO x emissions and its application to the Po Valley during the COVID-19 pandemic

Sun, Kang; Li, Lingbo; Jagini, Shruti; Li, Dan

The evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitates timely estimates of the resultant perturbations to anthropogenic emissions. Here we present a novel framework based on the relationships between observed column abundance and wind speed to rapidly estimate the air-basin-scale NOinline-formulax emission rate and apply it at the Po Valley in Italy using OMI and TROPOMI NOinline-formula2 tropospheric column observations. The NOinline-formulax chemical lifetime is retrieved together with the emission rate and found to be 15–20 h in winter and 5–6 h in summer. A statistical model is trained using the estimated emission rates before the pandemic to predict the trajectory without COVID-19. Compared with this business-as-usual trajectory, the real emission rates show three distinctive drops in March 2020 (inline-formula−42 %), November 2020 (inline-formula−38 %), and March 2021 (inline-formula−39 %) that correspond to tightened COVID-19 control measures. The temporal variation of pandemic-induced NOinline-formulax emission changes qualitatively agrees with Google and Apple mobility indicators. The overall net NOinline-formulax emission reduction in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to be inline-formula22 %.

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Sun, Kang / Li, Lingbo / Jagini, Shruti / et al: A satellite-data-driven framework to rapidly quantify air-basin-scale NOx emissions and its application to the Po Valley during the COVID-19 pandemic. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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