Diurnal and weekly patterns of primary pollutants in Beijing under COVID-19 restrictions

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

11 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-148
Journal / PublicationFaraday Discussions
Online published18 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021



Restrictions on movement in Beijing to limit the COVID-19 epidemic tended to reduce the emissions of primary pollutants. However, changes in pollutant concentrations are also affected by chemical transformation and meteorology. Decreases in concentrations were also not as obvious in Beijing when compared with Hubei Province, where lockdown was especially strict. Declines in concentrations between 2019 and 2020 are evident for both NO2 (37.0 to 26.2 μg m-3) and SO2 (5.86 to 4.15 μg m-3), but there was little evidence of change for PM2.5 (50.0 to 53.8 μg m-3) and CO (0.71 to 0.74 mg m-3). Despite this, Fourier analysis revealed that the weekly cycle of PM2.5 evident in 2019 was not apparent in 2020. In 2019, CO showed both diurnal and weekly signals, but these were absent under the restrictions of 2020. This suggests that while concentrations may remain relatively constant, the temporal distribution of pollutants can show subtle changes under restrictions imposed in attempts to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

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