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Spatiotemporal Variation of Nitrogen Dioxide and Nighttime Light Dataset of Iranian Metropolises in the COVID-19 Outbreak

S. Sangi1, S. Falahatkar1 *, and M. Gholamalifard1

  1. Department of Environmental Sciences, Natural Resources Faculty, Tarbiat Modares University, Noor, Mazandaran 46417-76489, Iran

*Corresponding author. Tel.: +98 1144998108. E-mail address: (S. Falahatkar).


COVID-19 lockdown has caused a reduction in traffic volume and industrial activities which are the main sources of air pollution in whole of the world. As tropospheric NO2 pollutant and nighttime light (NTL) are the representative of human activities, this study focused to quantify the annual and monthly change of NO2 concentration and NTL in 14 metropolises of Iran before, during and after the lockdown months such as March, April, October and November. TROPOMI images of Sentinel-5p were used for investigation of NO2 column density in 2019, 2020 and 2021, and the variation of NTL was monitored by VIIRS images. The findings showed the majority of metropolises have an increase of NO2 concentration in March and October and a decrease in April and November in 2020 but a significant increase in 2021. The similar pattern of NTL change as NO2 was observed in the most metropolises. The correlation coefficient between NO2 concentration and NTL was calculated from 0.66 to 0.75. So, in majority of metropolises, the reduction of NO2 was observed with reduction of NTL. According to the results, reducing traffic volume as mobile source does not has an effective contribution in NO2 emission in some metropolises of Iran which the stationary sources are dominant such as Isfahan. Tehran as the capital of Iran showed the highest annual mean NO2 reduction in lockdown, this finding showed the important role of traffic volume on air quality of Tehran compared to industrial activities. The integrated application of TROPOMI and NTL data will help to better decision making for controlling and managing of air quality in country’s urban area.

Keywords: air pollution, lockdown, Sentinel 5p, Suomi NPP, TROPOMI, VIIRS

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