Special Issue on COVID-19 Aerosol Drivers, Impacts and Mitigation (VI)

Lulu Zhang1, Lu Yang1, Quanyu Zhou1, Xuan Zhang1, Wanli Xing1, Hao Zhang1, Akira Toriba2, Kazuichi Hayakawa3, Ning Tang This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.2,3

1 Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kanazawa University, Kakuma-machi, Kanazawa 920-1192, Japan
2 Institute of Medical, Pharmaceutical and Health Sciences, Kanazawa University, Kakuma-machi, Kanazawa 920-1192, Japan
3 Institute of Nature and Environmental Technology, Kanazawa University, Kakuma-machi, Kanazawa 920-1192, Japan

Received: July 10, 2020
Revised: August 26, 2020
Accepted: August 27, 2020

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2020.07.0388  

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Cite this article:

Zhang, L., Yang, L., Zhou, Q., Zhang, X., Xing, W., Zhang, H., Toriba, A., Hayakawa, K. and Tang, N. (2020). Impact of the COVID-19 Outbreak on the Long-range Transport of Particulate PAHs in East Asia. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 20: 2035–2046. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2020.07.0388


  • KUWAMS in Japan is a sensitive background receptor for PAHs from mainland China.
  • There was a remarkable decrease in particulate PAHs at KUWAMS during COVID-19.
  • The reduced emission intensity in China reduced the PAHs export during COVID-19.
  • Air pollution controls in China affect the distribution of PAHs in East Asia.


Particulate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were continuously observed at Kanazawa University Wajima Air Monitoring Station (KUWAMS), a background site located in western Japan and downwind of mainland China that is constantly under the influence of polluted air masses originating from China. The observations showed that the concentration of particulate PAHs at KUWAMS sharply dropped to the lowest level (62 pg m–3) of the cold season in the last 5 years after the implementation of COVID-19 control measures in China. Despite the occasional dilution with clean air, the decrease in PAHs at KUWAMS reflected the reduction in emission intensity in China. Moreover, the PAH concentrations at KUWAMS in February, March, and April of 2020 compared with the same period in the previous year decreased by 52.6%, 36.6%, and 36.7%, respectively. These changes were consistent with the decline in SO2 and NO2 in northern China, which intensified during the control of COVID-19 and was slightly moderated after the resumption of work. In addition, there was little change in the composition of PAHs at KUWAMS before and during the COVID-19 outbreak and compared with previous years, which suggests a stable source composition. These findings emphasize the importance of decreased emission intensity in China for reducing long-range transport of PAHs and pollution levels in downwind areas.

Keywords: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; Air pollution; Background site; KUWAMS.

Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 20 :2035 -2046 . https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2020.07.0388  

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