Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2020-355
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2020-355

  28 Nov 2020

28 Nov 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Changes in China's anthropogenic emissions during the COVID-19 pandemic

Bo Zheng1, Qiang Zhang2, Guannan Geng3, Qinren Shi3, Yu Lei4, and Kebin He3 Bo Zheng et al.
  • 1Institute of Environment and Ecology, Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen 518055, China
  • 2Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modeling, Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
  • 3State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control, School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
  • 4Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning, Beijing 100012, China

Abstract. The COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns led to a sharp drop in socio-economic activities in China in 2020, including reductions in fossil fuel use, industry productions, and traffic volumes. The short-term impacts of lockdowns on China's air quality have been measured and reported, however, the changes in anthropogenic emissions have not yet been assessed quantitatively, which hinders our understanding of the causes of the air quality changes during COVID-19. Here, for the first time, we report the anthropogenic air pollutant emissions from mainland China during the first eight months of 2020 by using a bottom-up approach based on the near real-time data. The COVID-19 lockdown was estimated to have reduced China's anthropogenic emissions substantially between January and March in 2020, with the largest reductions in February. Emissions of SO2, NOx, CO, NMVOCs, and primary PM2.5 were estimated to have decreased by 29 %, 31 %, 27 %, 26 %, and 21 %, respectively, in February 2020 compared to the same month in 2019. The reductions in anthropogenic emissions were dominated by the industry sector for SO2 and PM2.5 and were contributed approximately equally by the industry and transportation sectors for NOx, CO, and NMVOCs. With the spread of coronavirus controlled, China's anthropogenic emissions rebounded in April and since then returned to the comparable levels of 2019 in August 2020. The provinces in China have presented nearly synchronous decline and rebound in anthropogenic emissions, while Hubei and the provinces surrounding Beijing recovered slower due to the extension of lockdown measures. The reduction ratios of anthropogenic emissions from 2019 to 2020 can be accessed from https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.5214920.v1 (Zheng et al., 2020) by species, month, sector, and province.

Bo Zheng et al.

 
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Changes in China’s anthropogenic emissions during the COVID-19 pandemic Bo Zheng, Qiang Zhang, Guannan Geng, Qinren Shi, Yu Lei, and Kebin He https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.5214920.v1

Bo Zheng et al.

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Short summary
Here we report the monthly anthropogenic pollutant emissions in China during the COVID-19 pandemic by using a bottom-up approach based on the near real-time data. The COVID lockdowns were estimated to have reduced China's emissions substantially between January and March in 2020, with the largest reduction in February. With the spread of coronavirus controlled, China's anthropogenic emissions rebounded in April and since then rapidly returned to the comparable levels of 2019 through August 2020.