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Participation at the AGU Fall Meeting 2020

11 December 2020

A lot of good science is being presented at AGU Fall Meetting 2020. Some of the presentations are focused in the COVID-19 pandemic. The URBAG group presented a poster presentation that wants to reflect upon lessons learned from the COVID-19  mitigation measures in terms of reduced mobility and its effect on urban air pollution.

Spain was one of the countries hardest hit by COVID-19, and the Spanish mobility restrictions during the lockdown were among the strictest globally. To understand the potential of traffic restrictions to improve urban air quality, we have analyzed the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB) which annually reports one of the highest air pollution levels nationwide. Observed data from various air pollution monitoring stations showed an improvement in air quality during the lockdown period. In particular, NO2 concentrations dropped by more than 75% during the third week of the lockdown (30 March- 3 April). Based on the evidence of reduced commuting during the epidemic, we have defined several scenarios with potential traffic emission reductions. Our study concludes that increased teleworking could significantly improve air quality in short term leading to a 13% reduction of NO2 concentrations.

Difference (in %) in NO2 concentrations between the base case and each scenario during typical morning high pollution peak hours (7h to 9h) in the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, simulation based on 2016 emission inventories.