Decrease in carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels due to COVID-19 detected by atmospheric observations


Reduction of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels due to COVID-19 detected by atmospheric observations

Time change in monthly averages of the change ratio of atmospheric CO2 to CH4 in January, February and March observed on Hateruma Island since 1998. The thick gray line represents the smoothed trend curve and the shaded area represents the 95% range variations from the trend curve. The solid, broken and dashed black lines represent CO2 emissions related to fossil fuels from China. Credit: NIES

Atmospheric observations on the island of Hateruma, Japan, have successfully detected the decrease in CO2 from fossil fuels2 emissions in China associated with the COVID-19 outbreak. The weather on Hateruma Island is often influenced by the northwest monsoon sweeping through China, which carries signals of air pollutants. The observed ratios of CO2 and CH4 the variability showed a significant decrease during February-March 2020, corresponding to a decrease of about 30% of China’s fossil fuel CO22 emissions, according to a simulation of the chemical-transport model.

Monitoring anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions using atmospheric observations is a major challenge for decision making, like the Paris Agreement. Huge atmospheric observation networks consisting of a variety of platforms including satellites have been developed to monitor regional / national scale changes in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) impacted global socioeconomic activity, leading to a significant reduction in CO from fossil fuels2 (FFCO)2) and other anthropogenic air pollutants around the world. This situation gave us a unique opportunity to assess our ability to quantify changes in regional FFCO2 emissions using atmospheric observations. However, there are few observational evidence reports for CO2 reduction of emissions due to the COVID-19 blockade, although a large number of publications have reported short-lived reductions in air pollutants from various parts of the world.

In Scientific reports from Nature Publishing, researchers from the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), Japan, and the Japanese Agency for Marine-Terrestrial Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) analyzed atmospheric CO2 and CH4 concentrations observed at Hateruma Island, Japan, located in the continental margin of East Asia, and detected signals related to the FCO2 reduction in China caused by the restrictions associated with the COVID-19 outbreak in the period January-March 2020.

We have estimated that FFCO2 emissions decreased by around 20% in the period January-February 2020 as a result of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in China and the outside world. While a significant reduction in air pollutants has been reported, articles on atmospheric signals from the FCO2 the reduction is yet to be found in the published literature. “The size of the atmospheric CO reservoir2 is quite large and the atmospheric CO2 has a relatively long shelf life. These characteristics determine the change in atmospheric CO2 concentrations caused by the COVID-19 flu are rather small, “said Prabir K. Patra, study co-author and researcher at JAMSTEC.

To detect such weak signals in the CO2 variations, the research team of NIES and JAMSTEC focused on the relative variation of atmospheric CO2 and CH4 observed on Hateruma Island for the past 20 years at daily time intervals. “The atmospheric observation at Hateruma Island is often affected by continental emissions during the winter due to the airflow pattern caused by the East Asian monsoon. We know that temporal variations in atmospheric CO2 and CH4 the concentrations show a remarkable similarity and temporal change in the CO ratio2 to CH4 the variations track the temporal change of fossil fuel emissions in China very well for the years before 2020, “said Yasunori Tohjima, lead author of the study and NIES researcher.” Thus the change ratio of CO2 to CH4 the signal reflecting the change in continental CO was expected to be detected2 emissions related to COVID-19 restrictions. “

The research team found that the monthly average ratio of atmospheric CO22 to CH4 the changes in January, February and March recorded the annual increase in FFCO2 emissions from China over the period 1997-2019. However, reports showed significant reductions in February and March 2020, which coincided with the lockdown period in China. “The relationship between the variation ratio and the FCO2 emissions from China should be evaluated using an atmospheric transport model and a CO series2 and CH4 flow maps, “said Yosuke Niwa, co-author of the study and a researcher at NIES.” We used multiple atmospheric CO2 simulations2 and CH4 to Hateruma Island for various scenarios for reducing CO2 emissions from fossil fuels2 using NICAM-TM. “The study therefore concluded that China’s FFCO2 emissions decreased by about 30% in February and by about 20% in March 2020. “Our approach presented in this study has the potential to detect emission reduction signals from any specific region in near real time using continuous measurements and high-precision CO2 and CH4“, mentioned Prabir K. Patra.

Atmospheric processes likely caused a staggering haze over China during the COVID-19 arrest

More information:
Yasunori Tohjima et al, Detection of CO2 from fossil fuels precipitated in China due to COVID-19 by observation in Hateruma, Scientific reports (2020). DOI: 10.1038 / s41598-020-75763-6

Provided by the National Institute for Environmental Studies

Quote: Decrease in carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels due to COVID-19 detected by atmospheric observations (2020, November 6) recovered on November 7, 2020 from fuel-carbon -dioxide -issions.html

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