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Trends in Summer-Time Tropospheric Ozone during COVID-19 Lockdown in Indian Cities Might Forecast a Higher Future Risk

Published: 14 July 2022
 by  MDPI

Abstract: High concentrations of tropospheric ozone (O3) is a serious concern in India. The generation and atmospheric dynamics of this trace gas depend on the availability of its precursors and meteorological variables. Like other parts of the world, the COVID-19 imposed lockdown and restrictions on major anthropogenic activities executed a positive impact on the ambient air quality with reduced primary pollutants/precursors load. In spite of this, several reports pointed towards a higher O3 in major Indian cities during the lockdown. The present study designed with 30 pan-Indian mega-, class I-, and class II-cities revealed critical and contrasting aspects of the geographical location, source, precursor, and meteorological variable dependency of the spatial and temporal O3 formation. This unexpected O3 increase in the major cities might forecast the probable future risks for the National Air Quality policies, especially O3 pollution management, in the Indian sub-continent. The results also pointed towards the severity of the north Indian air quality, followed by the western and eastern parts. We believe these results will definitely pave the way for researchers and policy-makers for predicting/framing regional and/or national O3 management strategies in the future.
Keywords: COVID-19 lockdown / Indian cities / ozone precursors / meteorology / ozone pollution / future risks

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