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      Long-range air pollution transport in East Asia during the first week of the COVID-19 lockdown in China


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          Long-range transport (LRT) of air pollutants from East Asia during the northeast monsoon season impacts several downwind locations. In 2020, the initial COVID-19 lockdowns in China overlapped with Week 3 of the Chinese New Year (CNY) holiday, and an Asian outflow event. Thus, movement of the Chinese populace from city to city was already greatly reduced by the time of the LRT episode, although the reductions in industrial output are less clear. We found NO 2 column concentrations were reduced by 24% during the CNY Week 3 this year compared to previous years. The attenuated transport event arrived to northern Taiwan with a PM 2.5 concentration <45 μg m −3 and most often <35 μg m −3, which is 2–3 times lower than LRT episodes of similar back-trajectory and synoptic patterns. The whole episode persisted for about 60 h, longer than most LRT episodes from China to Taiwan. CMAQ v5.2.1 modeling of the LRT event with 100% emission and reduced emission scenarios, revealed emissions in China were approximately 50% less than normal periods. Due to the length of the episode and the significant reduction in emissions, Taiwan avoided a PM 2.5 surplus of 19.2 μg m −3 on average during the episode, equivalent to a 0.5 μg m −3 reduction for the whole 3-month winter season. Employing the 100% emission model scenario and scaling up to the average episode hours each winter, the PM 2.5 surplus delivered via plumes on the northeast monsoon is equivalent to a 0.5 μg m −3 surplus for the whole year.

          Graphical abstract


          • COVID-19 lockdown in China reduced long-range transport of air pollution to Taiwan.

          • OMI NO2 over central-north China reduced by 24% compared to previous years.

          • PM2.5 concentration in northern Taiwan 2 times lower compared to similar episode

          • CMAQ simulation with 50% reduced emission in China matches measured PM2.5 in Taiwan.

          • Avoided PM2.5 pollution equivalent to 0.5 μg m −3 reduction for entire winter season

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          Author and article information

          Sci Total Environ
          Sci. Total Environ
          The Science of the Total Environment
          Published by Elsevier B.V.
          15 June 2020
          15 June 2020
          [a ]Department of Atmospheric Sciences, National Central University, Taoyuan 32001, Taiwan
          [b ]Center for Environmental Monitoring and Technology, National Central University, Taoyuan 32001, Taiwan
          [c ]Center for Space and Remote Sensing Research, National Central University, Taoyuan 32001, Taiwan
          Author notes
          [* ]Corresponding author. stegriff88@ 123456gmail.com
          [** ]Correspondence to: N.-H. Lin, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, National Central University, 300 Zhongda Road, Taoyuan 32001, Taiwan. nhlin@ 123456cc.ncu.edu.tw
          S0048-9697(20)33735-9 140214
          © 2020 Published by Elsevier B.V.

          Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.


          General environmental science

          transboundary aerosol, taiwan, shutdown, emissions reduction, cmaq, pm2.5


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