Timmermann, A. et al. COVID-19-related drop in anthropogenic aerosol emissions in China and corresponding cloud and climate effects (preprint)
During the COVID-19 pandemic, China temporarily shut down much of its manufacturing and transport activities. Aerosol emissions fell to record lows, temporarily improving air quality but also affecting cloud formation, atmospheric radiation and climate. Using a state-of-the-art Earth System Model finds a substantial increase in cloud droplet size and corresponding increase in low cloud cover over Eastern China. This leads to intensified longwave downwelling radiation at the surface but reduced incoming shortwave fluxes, giving us insights into the Earth’s radiation balance and how the climate system might respond to future strategies to tackle air pollution.