Improvement of Atmospheric Pollution in the Capital Cities of US during COVID-19

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The spread of COVID-19 during 2020 impacted the whole world and still affecting the lives of people living in some parts of the world. The spread of this epidemic started in the US in late March 2020 and became a major issue in April due to an outburst of COVID-19 cases. Most of the countries in the world imposed complete to partial lockdown, but in the US, few states imposed lockdowns. Even after the advisory of the various Government department, the mobility data suggest that there was an enhancement (10–15%) in mobility during March 2020. Later sudden drop in mobility was observed during April 2020. The fall in aerosols optical depth (AOD), particulate matter concentration, NO2, and Ozone are observed along with the positive shifts in the SO2. In some of the states, AOD shows pronounced decline during May and June (5–40.90%), in the month of May more than 80% decline was observed compared to the month of June 2020. In the month of April 2020, up to 73.64% decline was observed in NO2, and 70–99% in the months of May and June 2020. We found a good relationship between the mobility data and improvement in the air quality of the US. The changes were not significant compared to other countries in the world due to scattered lockdown policy, but in the US a pronounced change is observed during April month compared to March and May.


This article was originally published in Modeling Earth Systems and Environment, volume 8, in 2022.

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This scholarship is part of the Chapman University COVID-19 Archives.