Publications associated with Climate Physics

Climate impacts of COVID‐19 induced emission changes

Geophysical Research Letters Wiley 48 (2021) e2020GL091805

A Gettelman, R Lamboll, C Bardeen, P Forster

The COVID‐19 pandemic led to dramatic changes in economic activity in 2020. We use estimates of emissions changes for 2020 in two Earth System Models (ESMs) to simulate the impacts of the COVID‐19 economic changes. Ensembles of nudged simulations are used to separate small signals from meteorological variability. Reductions in aerosol and precursor emissions, chiefly Black Carbon (BC) and sulfate (SO4), led to reductions in total anthropogenic aerosol cooling through aerosol‐cloud interactions. The average overall Effective Radiative Forcing (ERF) peaks at +0.29±0.15 Wm−2 in spring 2020. Changes in cloud properties are smaller than observed changes during 2020. Impacts of these changes on regional land surface temperature range up to +0.3K. The peak impact of these aerosol changes on global surface temperature is very small (+0.03K). However, the aerosol changes are the largest contribution to radiative forcing and temperature changes as a result of COVID‐19 affected emissions, larger than ozone, CO2 and contrail effects.

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