The measures taken to contain the spread of COVID-19 started in 2020 included restrictions of people’s mobility and reductions in economic activities. These drastic changes in daily life enforced through national lockdowns, led to abrupt reductions of anthropogenic CO2 emissions in urbanized areas all over the world. To assess the effect of social restrictions on local urban CO2 emissions of, we analysed district level CO2 fluxes as measured by the eddy-covariance technique from various European cities. The datasets include turbulent and meteorological data, are at 30 minutes resolution, and span several years before the pandemic until summer 2022. All sites showed a sharp reduction in CO2 emissions during the lockdown periods. The magnitude of these reductions varies in time and space, from city to city as well as between different areas of the same city. We found that, during the first lockdowns, urban CO2 emissions were cut with respect to the same period in previous years by 5% to 87% across the analysed districts, mainly as a result of limitations on mobility. However, as the restrictions were lifted in the following months, emissions quickly rebounded to their pre-COVID levels in the majority of sites. The study demonstrates that the EC method is a valuable tool for monitoring continuously and almost in real-time the short- and long-term changes in urban trace gas emissions, but also for planning and assessing the effectiveness of national and subnational climate change mitigation policies.
Topic : Theme 2: State of play in integrated approaches for advanced GHG emission estimates and the way forward to operational services.
Reference : T2-B3
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