Characterization of the aerosol chemical composition during the COVID-19 lockdown period in Suzhou in the Yangtze River Delta, China

Wen Lu , Honglei Wang , Qing Miao , Lijuan Shen , Qian Yang , Yezheng Wu , Heng Wei , Yan Yin , Tianliang Zhao , Bin Zhu


Received July 05, 2020,Revised , Accepted September 18, 2020, Available online September 22, 2020

Volume 102,2021,Pages 110-122

To control the spread of COVID-19, rigorous restrictions have been implemented in China, resulting in a great reduction in pollutant emissions. In this study, we evaluated the air quality in the Yangtze River Delta during the COVID-19 lockdown period using satellite and ground-based data, including particle matter (PM), trace gases, water-soluble ions (WSIs) and black carbon (BC). We found that the impacts of lockdown policy on air quality cannot be accurately assessed using MODIS aerosol optical depth (AOD) data, whereas the tropospheric nitrogen dioxide (NO2) vertical column density can well reflect the influences of these restrictions on human activities. Compared to the pre-COVID period, the PM2.5, PM10, NO2, carbon monoxide (CO), BC and WSIs during the lockdown in Suzhou were observed to decrease by 37.2%, 38.3%, 64.5%, 26.1%, 53.3% and 58.6%, respectively, while the sulfur dioxide (SO2) and ozone (O3) increased by 1.5% and 104.7%. The WSIs ranked in the order of NO3 > NH4+ > SO42- > Cl > Ca2+ > K+ > Mg2+ > Na+ during the lockdown period. By comparisons with the ion concentrations during the pre-COVID period, we found that the ions NO3, NH4+, SO42−, Cl, Ca2+, K+ and Na+ decreased by 66.3%, 48.8%, 52.9%, 56.9%, 57.9% and 76.3%, respectively, during the lockdown, in contrast to Mg2+, which increased by 30.2%. The lockdown policy was found to have great impacts on the diurnal variations of Cl, SO42−, Na+ and Ca2+.

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