Volume XXI |

Covid-19 lockdown effect on aerosol optical depth in Delhi National Capital Region, India

Abstract: Coronavirus cases in India have been steadily increasing since March 2020. COronaVIrus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been managed by a variety of preventative measures. A prominent measure by the Government of India to prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) began on March 25, 2020, with a complete suspension of all outdoor activities throughout the country. Such complete lockdown has resulted in a decrease in anthropogenic emissions, which is partly due to restrictions on human activities. Delhi National Capital Region (NCR), a landlocked area, suffers from high amounts of aerosols due to both natural and anthropogenic sources. The present research focuses on changes in Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) prior to and during lockdown (initial and second lockdown phases) around satellite cities (Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar and Gurugram) of Delhi using high-resolution MODIS AOD product. With the implementation of lockdown measures in phase I and phase III of the current study region, AOD decreased dramatically, while phase II and phase IV lockdown phases had a higher concentration of aerosol. An unexpected increase in AOD occurred during the second lockdown compared with the initial lockdown and before the lockdown. Overall, the average percentage change from 2019 to 2020 during first lockdown is -4.44%, while the average percentage change from 2020 to 2021 is 27.63%.