UK lockdown and air pollution: Nitrogen dioxide halved but sulphur dioxide doubled

23-Sep-2020 1:05 PM EDT, by University of Liverpool

Newswise — A University of Liverpool study of air pollution in the UK during the first 100 days of lockdown has revealed that whilst nitrogen oxide levels were cut by half, levels of sulphur dioxide increased by over 100%.

Researchers from the University's School of Environmental Sciences analysed data from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) air-quality sensors and UK Met Office stations to see how lockdown measures had affected levels of nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, particle matter (PM2.5) and ozone, and compare it to data from the past seven years.

The study revealed that during this period (from 23rd March to 13 June 2020) nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels were cut by half which would relate to the reduction in vehicle emissions. More surprisingly, though, the analysis found that levels of sulphur dioxide (SO2), typically created by UK industry but in sharp decline, were more than double that of previous years.

Researchers also explored the localised effects of lockdown on air-quality, on seven large UK cities: London, Glasgow, Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Liverpool.

This revealed that NO2 levels in all of the cities reduced on average between 37 - 41% although it was these reductions were slightly greater in Glasgow declining by 44%. However, northern cities were found to experience greater increases in sulphur dioxide.

Lockdown in the UK came into effect on 23 March 2020 when the Prime minister, Boris Johnson, told the country that people 'must' stay at home and certain businesses must close.

This resulted in the significant reduction in motor vehicle usage with the first day of lockdown seeing a reduction to 69% of normal. This reached a low of 23% on 13 April before steadily increasing back to 77% 100 days after the lockdown. The first 100 days of lockdown also coincided with higher temperature and less humidity.

Lecturer in contemporary and dynamic processes, Dr Jonny Higham, who led the study said: "The results of our analysis are surprising. It is evident that the reduction in motor vehicles and human activity had a substantial impact on air quality as demonstrated by the reduction in nitrogen oxide. However, although it reduced one pollutant there has been a big increase in another pollutant.

"We think these changes could be driven by an in-balance in the complex air chemistry near to the surface exacerbated by the meteorological conditions in particularly low humidity levels and changes in pollutions concentrations.

"It is important to note that the complex and relatively stable air composition in the near surface layer can be disrupted in a short period of time by the significant reduction of primary emissions from human activities. For the case of UK, getting cleaner air from a large NO2 reduction may not be as straightforward as it seems."

###

The paper `UK Covid-19 Lockdown: 100 days of air pollution reduction?' (doi: 10.1007/s11869-020-00937-0) is published in Air Quality, Atmosphere and Health.

SEE ORIGINAL STUDY




Filters close

Showing results

1120 of 4156
access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 1-Dec-2020 11:00 AM EST Released to reporters: 30-Nov-2020 8:40 AM EST

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 1-Dec-2020 11:00 AM EST The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Newswise: COVID-19 Peer Hub combats vaccine avoidance amid pandemic
Released: 27-Nov-2020 8:05 AM EST
COVID-19 Peer Hub combats vaccine avoidance amid pandemic
University of South Australia

UniSA researchers are evaluating a new vaccination education initiative – the COVID-19 Peer Hub – to help immunisation and public health professionals to tackle the emerging dangers of vaccine hesitancy amid the pandemic.

Newswise: Long-Term Impacts of COVID-19: Your Mental Health
Released: 25-Nov-2020 2:15 PM EST
Long-Term Impacts of COVID-19: Your Mental Health
Cedars-Sinai

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaped more than half a year of our lives, canceling plans, upending livelihoods and causing feelings of grief, stress and anxiety. And Cedars-Sinai mental health experts say the pandemic could be shaping our mental health well into the future.

Released: 25-Nov-2020 12:45 PM EST
SARS-CoV-2 mutations do not appear to increase transmissibility
University College London

None of the mutations currently documented in the SARS-CoV-2 virus appear to increase its transmissibility in humans, according to a study led by UCL researchers.

Newswise: COVID-19 vaccine candidate tested preclinically at UAB nears first clinical test in people
Released: 25-Nov-2020 11:05 AM EST
COVID-19 vaccine candidate tested preclinically at UAB nears first clinical test in people
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Maryland-based Altimmune Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, has submitted an Investigational New Drug, or IND, application to the United States Food and Drug Administration to commence a Phase 1 clinical study of its single-dose intranasal COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AdCOVID.

Released: 25-Nov-2020 11:05 AM EST
BIDMC researchers reveal how genetic variations are linked to COVID-19 disease severity
Beth Israel Lahey Health

New research BIDMC-led sheds light on the genetic risk factors that make individuals more or less susceptible to severe COVID-19.

Newswise: blog-pandemic-scenario-planning-lg-feature2.jpg
Released: 25-Nov-2020 11:05 AM EST
Pandemic Ups Game on Scenario Planning in The Arts
Wallace Foundation

Researcher/Author of new toolkit and report seeks to help arts and culture organizations add scenario planning to their strategic toolbox

Released: 25-Nov-2020 10:30 AM EST
Young people's anxiety levels doubled during first COVID-19 lockdown, says study
University of Bristol

The number of young people with anxiety doubled from 13 per cent to 24 per cent, during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown 1, according to new research from the University of Bristol.

Newswise: 249837_web.jpg
Released: 25-Nov-2020 10:20 AM EST
Tracking COVID-19 trends in hard-hit states
Louisiana State University

Currently, there are over 10 million confirmed cases and more than 240,000 casualties attributed to COVID-19 in the U.S.

Released: 25-Nov-2020 9:55 AM EST
More Health Systems Join National #MaskUp Campaign
Cleveland Clinic

Many more health systems are joining the national #MaskUp campaign encouraging Americans to stop the spread of COVID-19 by following safety guidelines. Over just a few days, another 19 health systems with hundreds of hospitals united with 100 health systems nationwide with hospitals numbering in the thousands. The public service campaign is critical to the health and well-being of all Americans. It is a plea from healthcare professionals everywhere: wear a mask and follow other precautions to save lives and help get our country back on its feet.


Showing results

1120 of 4156

close
0.96765