The global response to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a sudden reduction of both greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants. We use the unprecedented access to national mobility data to make a bottom-up estimate of global emission reductions for February-June 2020. I will compare the resulting NOx trends with meteorologically-adjusted surface based NO2 observations. NOx emissions have declined, resulting in a negative radiative forcing and short-term cooling since the start of the year. This cooling trend is offset by a reduction in global SO2 emissions, that weakens the aerosol cooling effect, causing short-term warming. Over the next ten years, the competing warming and cooling effects of these non-CO2 emission changes are compared. Future scenarios are investigated for the longer-term recovery options post Covid.
Piers Forster is a Professor of Climate Physics and founding Director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds. His research has included numerous aspects of climate change modeling and understanding of radiative forcing. Currently, his work focuses on providing the underpinning research for robust climate solutions.
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