Ozone over Mexico City during the COVID-19 pandemic
22 de octubre de 2020
Science of The Total Environment |
Autores:Oscar Peralta, Abraham Ortínez-Alvarez, Ricardo Torres-Jardón, Manuel Suárez-Lastra, Telma Castro, Luis Gerardo Ruíz-Suárez*
* Ciencias Ambientales | Centro de Ciencias de la Atmósfera
uring the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, emissions of primary criteria pollutants in the Mexico City Metropolitan Area (MCMA) were substantially reduced, as in many other cities in the world. Unexpectedly, the daily average ozone concentration profile was practically indistinguishable from that of the past two years for the same time span in the calendar. So, we compared surface meteorology data, CO, NOx and O3 hourly concentrations in the MCMA from the ozone season (from March 1 to May 31) for the years 2018, 2019, and 2020. Also, TROPOMI satellite data on column count of CO, NO2 and HCHO, above a sparse grid of surface points in the MCMA, were also compared for March, April, and May 2020 with those from 2019. Population density used as a background variable to increase understanding of the observed differences allowed us to propose that reductions in NOx were so drastic that ozone formation moved rapidly from a VOC sensitive region towards a NOx sensitive region. The relevance of that unplanned policy provides impacts of contingent short-term emissions control actions during very high pollution episodes. Further analysis of these and other related data concerning VOC speciation and emissions patterns during the coronavirus lockdown may provide guidelines to enhance emission control policies in the post-COVID-19 times to come.