Tropospheric ozone production and chemical regime analysis during the COVID-19 lockdown over Europe [post]

Clara M. Nussbaumer, Andrea Pozzer, Ivan Tadic, Lenard Röder, Florian Obersteiner, Hartwig Harder, Jos Lelieveld, Horst Fischer
2021 unpublished
Abstract. The COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease 2019) European lockdowns have lead to a significant reduction in the emissions of primary pollutants such as NO (nitric oxide) and NO2 (nitrogen dioxide). As most photochemical processes are related to nitrogen oxide (NOx ≡ NO + NO2) chemistry, this event has presented an exceptional opportunity to investigate its effects on air quality and secondary pollutants, such as tropospheric ozone (O3). In this study, we present the effects of the COVID-19
more » ... down on atmospheric trace gas concentrations, net ozone production rates (NOPR) and the dominant chemical regime throughout the troposphere based on three different research aircraft campaigns across Europe. These are the UTOPIHAN campaigns in 2003 and 2004, the HOOVER campaigns in 2006 and 2007 and the BLUESKY campaign in 2020, the latter performed during the COVID-19 lockdown. We present in situ observations and simulation results from the ECHAM5/MESSy Atmospheric Chemistry model which allows for scenario calculations with business as usual emissions during the BLUESKY campaign, referred to as "no-lockdown scenario". We show that the COVID-19 lockdown reduced NO and NO2 mixing ratios in the upper troposphere by around 55 % compared to the no-lockdown scenario due to reduced air traffic. O3 production and loss terms reflected this reduction with a deceleration in O3 cycling due to reduced mixing ratios of NOx while NOPRs were largely unaffected. We also study the role of methyl peroxyradicals forming HCHO (αCH3O2) to show that the COVID-19 lockdown shifted the chemistry in the upper troposphere/tropopause region to a NOx limited regime during BLUESKY. In comparison, we find a VOC limited regime to be dominant during UTOPIHAN.
doi:10.5194/acp-2021-1028 fatcat:egmbln3ainakdmfwmaqswuqmda