Ranjan, AK; Patra, AK; Gorai, AK (2020). Effect of lockdown due to SARS COVID-19 on aerosol optical depth (AOD) over urban and mining regions in India. SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT, 745, 141024.

The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-COronaVlrus Diseases 2019 (SARS-COVID-19) pandemic has posed a serious threat to human health (death) and substantial economic losses across the globe. It was however presumed that extreme preventive measures of entire lockdown in India might have reduced the air pollution level and therefore decreased the aerosol optical depth (AOD). The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)-based Multi-angle Implementation of Atmospheric Correction (MAIAC) daily AOD product was deployed to investigate the change in AOD level during lockdown phases across the Indian Territory as compared to the long-term mean AOD level (2000-2019) of the same periods. The key findings of the study revealed that AOD level over the Indian Territory is greatly reduced (similar to 45%) during the lockdown periods as compared to the long-term mean AOD level (2000-2019). Furthermore, a noteworthy negative AOD anomaly (similar to 6 to 37%) was observed across the four metropolitan cities in India during the entire lockdown period (25th March to 15th May 2020). However, coal mining regions of the various coalfields in India showed a positive anomaly (similar to+-11 to 40%) during the lockdown periods due to ongoing mining operations. In a nutshell, the study results indicated a huge drop in the AOD level over Indian Territory during lockdown periods. It is expected that the pandemic can influence some policy decisions to propose air pollution control methods. Lockdown events possibly may play a crucial role as a potential solution for air pollution abatement in the future. It may not be uncommon in future when the governments may implement deliberately selective lockdowns at pollution hotspots to control the pollution level. (C) 2020 Published by Elsevier B.V.