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Sci Total Environ ; 892: 164496, 2023 Sep 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2327808


COVID-19 has notably impacted the world economy and human activities. However, the strict urban lockdown policies implemented in various countries appear to have positively affected pollution and the thermal environment. In this study, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) land surface temperature (LST) and aerosol optical depth (AOD) data were selected, combined with Sentinel-5P images and meteorological elements, to analyze the changes and associations among air pollution, LST, and urban heat islands (UHIs) in three urban agglomerations in mainland China during the COVID-19 lockdown. The results showed that during the COVID-19 lockdown period (February 2020), the levels of the AOD and atmospheric pollutants (fine particles (PM2.5), NO2, and CO) significantly decreased. Among them, PM2.5 and NO2 decreased the most in all urban agglomerations, by >14 %. Notably, the continued improvement in air pollution attributed to China's strict control policies could lead to overestimation of the enhanced air quality during the lockdown. The surface temperature in all three urban agglomerations increased by >1 °C during the lockdown, which was mainly due to climate factors, but we also showed that the lockdown constrained positive LST anomalies. The decrease in the nighttime urban heat island intensity (UHIInight) in the three urban agglomerations was greater than that in the daytime quantity by >25 %. The reduction in surface UHIs at night was mainly due to the reduced human activities and air pollutant emissions. Although strict restrictions on human activities positively affected air pollution and UHIs, these changes were quickly reverted when lockdown policies were relaxed. Moreover, small-scale lockdowns contributed little to environmental improvement. Our results have implications for assessing the environmental benefits of city-scale lockdowns.

Air Pollutants , Air Pollution , COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cities , Hot Temperature , Temperature , East Asian People , Nitrogen Dioxide , Environmental Monitoring , Communicable Disease Control , Respiratory Aerosols and Droplets , Air Pollution/analysis , Air Pollutants/analysis , Particulate Matter/analysis