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Air Quality Implications of COVID-19 in California

School of Atmospheric Physics, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology (NUIST), Nanjing 210044, China
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204, USA
Nanning Meteorological Service, Nanning 530000, China
Independent Researcher, Sacramento, CA 95814, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 7067;
Received: 7 July 2020 / Revised: 5 August 2020 / Accepted: 27 August 2020 / Published: 30 August 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected human health and the economy. The implementation of social distancing practices to combat the virus spread, however, has led to a notable improvement in air quality. This study compared the surface air quality monitoring data from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA)’s AirNow network during the period 20 March–5 May in 2020 to those in 2015–2019 from the Air Quality System (AQS) network over the state of California. The results indicated changes in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) of −2.04 ± 1.57 μg m−3 and ozone of −3.07 ± 2.86 ppb. If the air quality improvements persist over a year, it could potentially lead to 3970–8900 prevented premature deaths annually (note: the estimates of prevented premature deaths have large uncertainties). Public transit demand showed dramatic declines (~80%). The pandemic provides an opportunity to exhibit how substantially human behavior could impact on air quality. To address both the pandemic and climate change issues, better strategies are needed to affect behavior, such as ensuring safer shared mobility, the higher adoption of telecommuting, automation in the freight sector, and cleaner energy transition. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; air quality; shared mobility; telecommuting; climate change COVID-19; air quality; shared mobility; telecommuting; climate change
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pan, S.; Jung, J.; Li, Z.; Hou, X.; Roy, A.; Choi, Y.; Gao, H.O. Air Quality Implications of COVID-19 in California. Sustainability 2020, 12, 7067.

AMA Style

Pan S, Jung J, Li Z, Hou X, Roy A, Choi Y, Gao HO. Air Quality Implications of COVID-19 in California. Sustainability. 2020; 12(17):7067.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pan, Shuai, Jia Jung, Zitian Li, Xuewei Hou, Anirban Roy, Yunsoo Choi, and H. Oliver Gao. 2020. "Air Quality Implications of COVID-19 in California" Sustainability 12, no. 17: 7067.

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