Special Issue "Coronavirus Pandemic Shutdown Effects on Urban Air Quality"

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Air Quality".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 12 May 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Gunnar W. Schade
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, TX 77843, USA
Interests: biosphere-atmosphere interactions; energy and trace gas fluxes; boundary layer meteorology; climate change impacts
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Nicole Mölders
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Geophysical Institute and College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 903, Koyukuk Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA
Interests: human and natural impacts on weather; air quality and climate; land-cover/use impacts on cloud and precipitation formation; pollution in remote locations; wind energy; evaluation of air-quality model results
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Daniele Contini
Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (ISAC), National Research Council (CNR), 73100 Lecce, Italy
Interests: atmosphere composition; toxicological effects of atmospheric aerosols and sources; characterisation of aerosol sources; receptor models; air quality and health; turbulent fluxes; particle deposition; nucleation process
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Gabriele Curci
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Physical and Chemical Sciences, Università degli Studi dell’Aquila, 67010 Coppito, L’Aquila, Italy
Interests: regional tropospheric chemistry and air quality; global and regional modeling of atmospheric aerosols and their radiative effects; aerosol-cloud interactions; intercontinental transport of trace gases and aerosols; aerosol optical properties and mixing state; aerosol remote sensing
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Francesca Costabile
Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (ISAC), National Research Council (CNR), 00133 Rome, Italy
Interests: air quality; atmospheric aerosol; health effects; characterization of ultrafine particles; combustion generated aerosol and urban areas; black carbon and carbonaceous aerosol, and relevant toxicology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Prashant Kumar
Website
Guest Editor
Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE), University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, UK
Interests: exposure assessment; modelling and inequalities; indoor air quality; energy-pollution nexus; transport emission modelling; air pollution dispersion modelling; pollution control and environmental policies; green infrastructure interventions and health mapping; air-climate interactions
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Chris G. Tzanis
Website
Guest Editor
Section of Environmental Physics and Meteorology, Department of Physics, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, University Campus, 157 84 Athens, Greece
Interests: climate dynamics; climate physics; climate change and variability; aerosols; ambient air quality; ozone-climate interactions; atmospheric physics and chemistry; nonlinear processes; artificial intelligence and machine learning; remote sensing
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In a world of over 7 billion people, most of them living in urban areas, the unprecedented shutdown of much of social and economic activity to address the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a reduction of pollutant emissions that is similarly unprecedented and rapid. Air pollution around the world has been reduced so significantly as to become clearly visible from space. Satellite data on NO2 columns were circulated quickly, as were photographic documentations of increased visibility conditions due to lower particulate matter concentrations. However, emissions reductions have likely neither been uniform, nor extended to a majority of all air pollutants. Mobile sector emissions of NOx and other pollutants have been the most commonly reduced, making this a unique experiment of observing the urban atmosphere and its chemistry under conditions not expected for another few decades. The continued operation of satellite instruments, and of surface air quality measurement networks in numerous countries and cities around the world during the pandemic provides a rich data set of the ongoing effects of
this reduction on air quality, and we encourage scientists to analyze these data in detail, and submit their manuscripts for publication in this Special Issue.

Dr. Gunnar W. Schade
Prof. Dr. Nicole Mölders
Dr. Daniele Contini
Dr. Gabriele Curci
Dr. Francesca Costabile
Prof. Dr. Prashant Kumar
Dr. Chris G. Tzanis
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Atmosphere is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (4 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Integrating in situ Measurements and City Scale Modelling to Assess the COVID–19 Lockdown Effects on Emissions and Air Quality in Athens, Greece
Atmosphere 2020, 11(11), 1174; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11111174 - 30 Oct 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The lockdown measures implemented worldwide to slow the spread of the COVID–19 pandemic have allowed for a unique real-world experiment, regarding the impacts of drastic emission cutbacks on urban air quality. In this study we assess the effects of a 7-week (23 March–10 [...] Read more.
The lockdown measures implemented worldwide to slow the spread of the COVID–19 pandemic have allowed for a unique real-world experiment, regarding the impacts of drastic emission cutbacks on urban air quality. In this study we assess the effects of a 7-week (23 March–10 May 2020) lockdown in the Greater Area of Athens, coupling in situ observations with estimations from a meteorology-atmospheric chemistry model. Measurements in central Athens during the lockdown were compared with levels during the pre- and post-lockdown 3-week periods and with respective levels in the four previous years. We examined regulatory pollutants as well as CO2, black carbon (BC) and source-specific BC components. Models were run for pre-lockdown and lockdown periods, under baseline and reduced-emissions scenarios. The in-situ results indicate mean concentration reductions of 30–35% for traffic-related pollutants in Athens (NO2, CO, BC from fossil fuel combustion), compared to the pre-lockdown period. A large reduction (53%) was observed also for the urban CO2 enhancement while the reduction for PM2.5 was subtler (18%). Significant reductions were also observed when comparing the 2020 lockdown period with past years. However, levels rebounded immediately following the lift of the general lockdown. The decrease in measured NO2 concentrations was reproduced by the implementation of the city scale model, under a realistic reduced-emissions scenario for the lockdown period, anchored at a 46% decline of road transport activity. The model permitted the assessment of air quality improvements on a spatial scale, indicating that NO2 mean concentration reductions in areas of the Athens basin reached up to 50%. The findings suggest a potential for local traffic management strategies to reduce ambient exposure and to minimize exceedances of air quality standards for primary pollutants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coronavirus Pandemic Shutdown Effects on Urban Air Quality)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Spread of COVID-19, Meteorological Conditions and Air Quality in the City of Buenos Aires, Argentina: Two Facets Observed during Its Pandemic Lockdown
Atmosphere 2020, 11(10), 1045; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11101045 - 30 Sep 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
This work studied the spread of COVID-19, the meteorological conditions and the air quality in a megacity from two viewpoints: (1) the correlation between meteorological and air quality (PM10 and NO2) variables with infections and deaths due COVID-19, and (2) [...] Read more.
This work studied the spread of COVID-19, the meteorological conditions and the air quality in a megacity from two viewpoints: (1) the correlation between meteorological and air quality (PM10 and NO2) variables with infections and deaths due COVID-19, and (2) the improvement in air quality. Both analyses were performed for the pandemic lockdown due to COVID-19 in the City of Buenos Aires (CABA), the capital and the largest city in Argentina. Daily data from temperature, rainfall, average relative humidity, wind speed, PM10, NO2, new cases and deaths due COVID-19 were analyzed. Our findings showed a significant correlation of meteorological and air quality variables with COVID-19 cases. The highest temperature correlation occurred before the confirmation day of new cases. PM10 presented the highest correlation within 13 to 15 days lag, while NO2 within 3 to 6 days lag. Also, reductions in PM10 and NO2 were observed. This study shows that exposure to air pollution was significantly correlated with an increased risk of becoming infected and dying due to COVID-19. Thus, these results show that the NO2 and PM10 levels in CABA can serve as one of the indicators to assess vulnerability to COVID-19. In addition, decision-makers can use this information to adopt strategies to restrict human mobility during the COVID-19 pandemic and future outbreaks of similar diseases in CABA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coronavirus Pandemic Shutdown Effects on Urban Air Quality)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Insights for Air Quality Management from Modeling and Record Studies in Cuenca, Ecuador
Atmosphere 2020, 11(9), 998; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11090998 - 18 Sep 2020
Abstract
On-road traffic is the primary source of air pollutants in Cuenca (2500 m. a.s.l.), an Andean city in Ecuador. Most of the buses in the country run on diesel, emitting high amounts of NOx (NO + NO2) and PM2.5 [...] Read more.
On-road traffic is the primary source of air pollutants in Cuenca (2500 m. a.s.l.), an Andean city in Ecuador. Most of the buses in the country run on diesel, emitting high amounts of NOx (NO + NO2) and PM2.5, among other air pollutants. Currently, an electric tram system is beginning to operate in this city, accompanied by new routes for urban buses, changing the spatial distribution of the city’s emissions, and alleviating the impact in the historic center. The Ecuadorian energy efficiency law requires that all vehicles incorporated into the public transportation system must be electric by 2025. As an early and preliminary assessment of the impact of this shift, we simulated the air quality during two scenarios: (1) A reference scenario corresponding to buses running on diesel (DB) and (2) the future scenario with electric buses (EB). We used the Eulerian Weather Research and Forecasting with Chemistry (WRF-Chem) model for simulating the air quality during September, based on the last available emission inventory (year 2014). The difference in the results of the two scenarios (DB-EB) showed decreases in the daily maximum hourly NO2 (between 0.8 to 16.4 µg m−3, median 7.1 µg m−3), and in the 24-h mean PM2.5 (0.2 to 1.8 µg m−3, median 0.9 µg m−3) concentrations. However, the daily maximum 8-h mean ozone (O3) increased (1.1 to 8.0 µg m−3, median 3.5 µg m−3). Apart from the primary air quality benefits acquired due to decreases in NO2 and PM2.5 levels, and owing to the volatile organic compounds (VOC)-limited regime for O3 production in this city, modeling suggests that VOC controls should accompany future NOx reduction for avoiding increases in O3. Modeled tendencies of these pollutants when moving from the DB to EB scenario were consistent with the tendencies observed during the COVID-19 lockdown in this city, which is a unique reference for appreciating the potentiality and identifying insights for air quality improvements. This consistency supports the approach and results of this contribution, which provides early insights into the effects on air quality due to the recent operability of the electric tram and the future shift from diesel to electric buses in Cuenca. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coronavirus Pandemic Shutdown Effects on Urban Air Quality)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Insignificant Impact of the “Stay-At-Home” Order on Ambient Air Quality in the Memphis Metropolitan Area, U.S.A.
Atmosphere 2020, 11(6), 630; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11060630 - 14 Jun 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
The lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been reported to reduce ambient air pollution in many cities globally. This study aims to examine whether air pollution dropped in Memphis, a typical U.S. metropolitan city and transportation hub, during the lockdown from 25 [...] Read more.
The lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been reported to reduce ambient air pollution in many cities globally. This study aims to examine whether air pollution dropped in Memphis, a typical U.S. metropolitan city and transportation hub, during the lockdown from 25 March to 4 May, 2020. Daily air pollution data measured at five representative monitoring stations in the Memphis Metropolitan Area were downloaded from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality System. The mean concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and ozone during the lockdown were compared with the baseline concentrations measured during the same periods in 2017–2019 using linear regression models. The average vehicle miles traveled (VMT) reduced by 57% in this region during the lockdown compared to that during 1–24 March, 2020. The mean (± standard deviation) concentrations of PM2.5, NO2, and ozone were 7.5 ± 2.6 μg/m3, 16.5 ± 9.4 ppb, and 44.5 ± 8.4 ppb, respectively, during the lockdown. They did not statistically differ from the baseline concentrations, nor were they lower than the mean concentrations in the prior month (25 February–24 March, 2020), after accounting for meteorological conditions. The lack of effect could be explained by the small contribution of traffic emissions to air pollution. The results suggest that the “stay-at-home” order had an insignificant impact on reducing air pollution in Memphis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coronavirus Pandemic Shutdown Effects on Urban Air Quality)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop