NASA Discovers Local COVID-19 Lockdown Brings Unexpectedly Fast Global Ozone Reduction

A new study found that the reduction in fossil fuel combustion due to blockades in cities in the United States and Asia caused a global reduction in ozone pollution. Credit: Pond5

When the coronavirus pandemic blockade reduced local nitrogen oxide emissions, the impact on ozone pollution was unexpectedly rapid on a global scale.

The coronavirus pandemic delayed global commerce in early 2020, reducing ozone-producing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, which pose a danger to human health and climate, by 15% worldwide, resulting in regional emissions. It is said that it decreased by 50%. To a study led by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. As a result of reduced NOx emissions, by June 2020, global ozone levels had fallen to levels that policymakers believed would take at least 15 years to reach by traditional means such as regulation.

This study shows that innovative technologies and other solutions aimed at locally reducing NOx have the potential to rapidly improve the world’s air quality and climate. Published on June 9, 2021. Science Advances..

As the coronavirus pandemic delayed global commerce in early 2020, ozone-producing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions were dangerous to human health and climate. A study led by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.Credits: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Science Visualization Studio

Ozone protects us from destructive solar radiation when it is higher than the Earth in the stratosphere. However, getting closer to the ground has other lasting effects. Surface ozone is estimated to cause 365,000 deaths worldwide in 2019 by damaging the lungs of vulnerable people, such as infants and people with asthma. Similarly, it damages the plant’s respiratory system (photosynthetic capacity) and reduces plant growth and yield. And at the top of the troposphere, it is a powerful greenhouse gas that raises the temperature of the Earth.

When the world was blocked, scientists had an unprecedented opportunity to study how human activity interacts with natural Earth system processes on a regional and global scale. An international team of researchers, led by JPL scientist Kazuyuki Miyazaki, took this opportunity to study two major nitrogen oxides, nitrogen oxides and nitrogen dioxide. They illustrated a series of events from a reduction in fossil fuel combustion during the blockade to a reduction in local NOx emissions and ultimately a reduction in global tropospheric ozone pollution. The tighter the national blockade, the greater the reduction in emissions. For example, China’s stay-at-home order in early February 2020 reduced NOx emissions by 50% in some cities within a few weeks. Most US states achieved a 25% decline in late spring.

The overall result of reducing NOx emissions was a 2% reduction in global ozone. This is the most aggressive NOx emission regulation for a period of 30 years, which is the prestigious organization of international experts on climate, examined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Ozone reductions by reducing NOx emissions have spread rapidly over the world and over 6 miles (10 km) from the surface. JPL scientist Jessica Neu, co-author of the new study, said: “We were expecting more local reactions on the surface.”

The reaction that converts NOx to ozone requires sunlight and depends on many additional factors, such as the weather and other chemicals in the air. These factors interact in so many ways that, in some situations, reducing NOx emissions actually increases ozone. Therefore, researchers cannot understand or predict ozone concentration from NOx emission data alone. It requires a more thorough analysis, as in this study.

Researchers used NOx, ozone, and other atmospheric gas measurements from five NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) earth observation satellites. They used a data analysis system developed at JPL to supply multiple satellite observations to four numerical models of atmospheric chemistry and meteorology. They found that the model’s atmospheric changes were in good agreement with satellite observations, recreating known increases and decreases in emissions as the area entered and exited the blockade. These findings show that as the global economy recovers, both NOx emissions and global ozone will rise again.

“We are very pleased that our analytical system was able to capture the detailed changes in emissions around the world,” says Miyazaki. “The challenging and unprecedented nature of this task is evidence of improved satellite surveillance to meet social needs.” This new feature, which combines multiple types of satellite observations and models, is the Earth’s atmosphere and how it is. It has already unleashed a new understanding of what is changing to.

Reference: June 9, 2021, Kazuyuki Miyazaki, Kevin Bowman, Takashi Sekiya, Masayuki Takigawa, Jessica L. Noi, Kengo Sudo, Greg Osterman, Genk Esquez’s “Global Blockade of COVID-19” Global tropospheric ozone response to related NOx emission reductions ”, Science Advances..
DOI: 10.1126 / sciadv.abf7460

The research team also included scientists from the Japan Ocean and Earth Science and Technology Agency in Yokohama, Nagoya University in Japan, and the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute in Devil. NASA Discovers Local COVID-19 Lockdown Brings Unexpectedly Fast Global Ozone Reduction

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