Key Findings

  • The authors investigated the impacts of the worldwide reduction in aerosol emissions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, using model simulations with GFDL’s AM4 to separate the effects of meteorology and emissions.
  • Pandemic-related emission reductions account for approximately one-third of the large, precipitous decrease in solar clear-sky reflection (when the sky is not covered by clouds) over the East Asian Marginal Seas in March 2020.
  • The remainder can be attributed to weather variability and long-term emission trends.
  • By contrast, no robust signal is identified in the negative anomaly in solar all-sky reflection. The presence of clouds makes it harder to detect any signal from COVID.

Yi Ming, Norman G. Loeb, Pu Lin, Zhaoyi Shen, Vaishali Naik, Clare E. Singer, Ryan X. Ward, Fabien Paulot, Zhibo Zhang, Nicolas Bellouin, Larry W. Horowitz, Paul A. Ginoux, V. Ramaswamy. Geophysical Research Letters. DOI: 10.1002/essoar.10503579.1

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led to a worldwide reduction in aerosol emissions. Anecdotal effects on air quality and visibility were widely reported. Less known are the impacts on the planetary energy balance, and by extension, on weather and climate. By separating the impacts from meteorology and emissions with model simulations, the authors found that about one‐third of the clear‐sky anomalies can be attributed to pandemic‐related emission reductions, and the rest to weather variability and long‐term emission trends.

Read more at the link below.