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

Pradeep Khatri  1,2, Tadahiro Hayasaka1 

1 Center for Atmospheric and Oceanic Studies, Graduate School of Science, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
2 Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto, Japan

Received: December 26, 2020
Revised: April 2, 2021
Accepted: July 11, 2021

 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.200668  

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Cite this article:

Khatri, P., Hayasaka, T. (2021). Impacts of COVID-19 on Air Quality over China: Links with Meteorological Factors and Energy Consumption. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.200668


  • Impacts of COVID-19 on air quality over China were studied.
  • Data related to air quality, meteorology, energy, and nighttime light were used.
  • Aerosols decreased during lockdown period by contouring meteorological effect.
  • Short-lived NO2 decreased significantly than long-lived CO.
  • Residental sector was an import source of pollution during lockdown period.


The stringent control measures in China to curb the spread of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have had profound societal and environmental impacts, including changes in energy consumption practices and thereby in air pollutant emissions. In this study, a suite of satellite and numerically assimilated air pollution and meteorological data combined with information on energy consumption practices and nighttime light (NTL) was used to evaluate the effects of these COVID-19 control measures on air quality. These data revealed that control measures reduced aerosols mostly over central and eastern parts of China by countering favorable meteorological conditions for increased aerosols. The control measures reduced short-lived nitrogen dioxide (NO2) with little influence on long-lived carbon monoxide (CO). Consistent with energy production and energy consumption statistics in different sectors, NTL data suggest that high human mobility within the residential sector and reduced activity in other sectors during the implementation of control measures explain small but significant decreases in black carbon and sulfate aerosols, respectively, during this period. Overall, these results provide useful information for policy makers and the scientific community by clarifying the contributions of meteorological factors and energy consumption to changes in air quality. This information can guide the development of air pollution mitigation strategies and provides insight into the air pollution status in China and the potential for long-distance transport.

Keywords: COVID-19, Air quality, Energy consumption, Nighttime light

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