There has been much talk in the media about the potential impact of the coronavirus-related lockdowns on our climate as well as whether environmental correlations with the virus exist. How big is the decrease in emissions and air pollution? And is there any long term significance in this decrease? These are the questions mostly for our Atmospheric Research Infrastructures. Read below about their activities to response to these questions.

Reduced urban emissions

✦ ICOS continues to provide data on greenhouse gases; there has been a lot of interest to it during the lockdown. ICOS has intensified its media and communications efforts in order to respond to the demand of information: A recent ICOS study shows a clear reduction in urban CO2 emissions as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns; a visible change, albeit very small when considering the entire atmosphere.  ✦ To better understand how ICOS contributes, watch the ICOS CO2ffee video. The video answers questions such as “To what extend could a temporary drop in CO2 emissions have a long-term effect on the global climate? Can we, after recovering from the COVID-19 crisis, ensure a green recovery, or is it more likely that we will just go back to ‘normal’?”

New Data sets

✦ ACTRIS will prepare specific, user-friendly data sets of the atmospheric observations for various user groups when the lockdown situation is over. These will be useful for further detailed studies and analysis of the environmental and societal impacts of COVID-19, and the closing down of several sectors of society, e.g. transport, industry, and services. ✦ On top of the regular ACTRIS data collection, a COVID-19 NRT lidar measurement campaign was organized to answer, on behalf of its users, the question: “Can we quantify the impact of decreased emissions on the state of the atmosphere outside the urban areas, on a time-span of several weeks?”. As an active contributor to ACTRIS, EARLINET has intensifies its regular lidar measurements in order to provide a scientifically relevant answer. Results are published in weekly reports. ✦ The German Aerospace Center DLR, a member of EUFAR, is conducting airborne observations to study the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns and transport restrictions on atmospheric composition. ✦ eLTER, in anticipation of long-term needs and unforeseen global changes, will utilize their network of socio-ecological research platforms (LTSER Platforms) and their teams to consider the characteristics of diverse geographic regions that will likely be important during the post-pandemic period recovery and adaptation to new social, economic and environmental realities. Furthermore – having the capacity and infrastructure to monitor short to long term impacts of the socio-economic impacts of policy responses to COVID-19 on water/soil/air quality, ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services – eLTER can answer crucial pandemic-related questions such as whether there will be a long term effect of this pandemic on securing food production and other life-supporting ecosystem services.

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