The implication of the air quality pattern in South Korea after the COVID-19 outbreak
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- The implication of the air quality pattern in South Korea after the COVID-19 outbreak
- Koo, Ja-Ho; Kim, Jhoon; Lee, Yun Gon; Park, Sang Seo; Lee, Seoyoung; Chong, Heesung; Cho, Yeseul; Kim, Jaemin; Choi, Kyungbae; Lee, Taegyung
- Issue Date
- Nature Publishing Group
- Scientific Reports, v.10, no.1
- By using multiple satellite measurements, the changes of the aerosol optical depth (AOD) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) over South Korea were investigated from January to March 2020 to evaluate the COVID-19 effect on the regional air quality. The NO2 decrease in South Korea was found but not significant, which indicates the effects of spontaneous social distancing under the maintenance of ordinary life. The AODs in 2020 were normally high in January, but they became lower starting from February. Since the atmosphere over Eastern Asia was unusually stagnant in January and February 2020, the AOD decrease in February 2020 clearly reveals the positive effect of the COVID-19. Considering the insignificant NO2 decrease in South Korea and the relatively long lifetime of aerosols, the AOD decrease in South Korea may be more attributed to the improvement of the air quality in neighboring countries. In March, regional atmosphere became well mixed and ventilated over South Korea, contributing to large enhancement of air quality. While the social activity was reduced after the COVID-19 outbreak, the regional meteorology should be also examined significantly to avoid the biased evaluation of the social impact on the change of the regional air quality.
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