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How Covid-19 Affected Climate Change

How covid-19 affected climate change

The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc in countries across the globe, causing a global health crisis and forcing economies to slow down due to the strict quarantine measures. The Covid-19 crisis puts our unprepared world in disruption, our economy in reduction, our lives in suspension in a succession of waves. However, the outbreak has also impacted the environment in an intriguing way and affected the climate drastically. As the pandemic spreads in different parts of the world, its consequences run farther than closed borders, scarce hand sanitizer, and social distancing protocols. The rising cases of COVID-19 forced so many countries into an emergency national lockdown which was aimed at slowing down the speedy spread of virus. After the lockdown was put ordered in place by many governments it led to a huge reduction in transportation activities as well as industrial activities. These changes in transportation activities exert a notable impact on the quality of environment. The current pandemic is an unprecedented opportunity to study how global climate responds to a massive drop-in human activity. And so far, it appears that lockdowns are likely to have little effect on climate change unless future economic recovery plans include green policies,

There have been seen a drop in the emissions this year because of the COVID crisis and lockdowns in many countries.Air pollution levels across geographies have reduced considerably due to reduced fossil fuel consumption in transportation, industries, and power plants along with reduction in other sources of pollution.

The global response to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a sudden reduction of both GHG emissions and air pollutants. Here, using national mobility data, we estimate global emission reductions for ten species during the period February to June 2020.The global COVID-19 lockdowns caused fossil carbon dioxide emissions to decline by an estimated 2.4 billion tons in 2020 – a record drop according to researchers at Future Earth’s Global Carbon Project. The fall is considerably larger than previous significant decreases – 0.5 (in 1981 and 2009), 0.7 (1992), and 0.9 (1945) billion tons of CO2 (GtCO2). It means that in 2020 fossil CO2 emissions are predicted to be approximately 34 GtCO2, 7% lower than in 2019.

According to an estimate, global NOx emissions declined by as much as 30% in April, contributing a short-term cooling since the start of the year. A decline in NO2 has been observed globally and in several countries and cities. NO2 is short-lived (~5 h), provides a relatively linear response to emission changes (unlike other pollutants, such as O3 and PM2.5) and reductions in its emissions are expected to be well-correlated to CO2 emission reductions. Changes in its concentration thus act as a useful bellwether for changes in CO2 emissions. Several studies report COVID-19-induced changes in NO2 concentration from both surface- and satellite-platforms over China.  As a result, it is estimated that the direct effect of the pandemic-driven response will be negligible, with a cooling of around 0.01 ± 0.005 °C.

The researchers caution that despite these sizable declines, the overall effect on climate may only amount to a decrease in the global temperature of 0.01 °C over the next five years.

While global emissions fell between 10 percent and 30 percent on average, the team found that the benefits were largely mitigated by the interplay between different gases. For example, carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides fell by roughly 30 percent, a finding the authors attributed to less driving and use of public transportation. On the other hand, at the same time, sulfur dioxides released by industry fell by 20 percent (due to closure of industries during lockdown). As sulfur dioxide is responsible for lowering the earth’s temperature by forming aerosols that reflect incoming solar radiations.  Sulphur dioxide cools the earth while CO2 and NOx increase global temperatures.

As the lockdown continues globally, which affects transportation and industrial activities, there were speculations that the earth is gradually recovering from degradation and air pollution, mainly from the release of greenhouse gases. These speculations were confirmed to be accurate according to the reports from various space agencies such as NASA and ESA, which shows a significant advancement in air quality across Europe, Asia, and the USA, which can be credited to a decline in nitrous oxide and emission of other gases resulting from the COVID-19 lockdown

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