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Meteorological normalisation using boosted regression trees to estimate the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on air quality levels

Abstract: The global COVID-19 pandemic that began in late December 2019 led to unprecedented lockdowns worldwide, providing a unique opportunity to investigate in detail the impacts of restricted anthropogenic emissions on air quality. A wide range of strategies and approaches exist to achieve this. In this paper, we use the "deweather" R package, based on Boosted Regression Tree (BRT) models, first to remove the influences of meteorology and emission trend patterns from NO, NO2, PM10 and O3 data series, and then to calculate the relative changes in air pollutant levels in 2020 with respect to the previous seven years (2013-2019). Data from a northern Spanish region, Cantabria, with all types of monitoring stations (traffic, urban background, industrial and rural) were used, dividing the calendar year into eight periods according to the intensity of government restrictions. The results showed mean reductions in the lockdown period above -50% for NOx, around -10% for PM10 and below -5% for O3. Small differences were found between the relative changes obtained from normalised data with respect to those from observations. These results highlight the importance of developing an integrated policy to reduce anthropogenic emissions and the need to move towards sustainable mobility to ensure safer air quality levels, as pre-existing concentrations in some cases exceed the safe threshold.

Otras publicaciones de la misma revista o congreso con autores/as de la Universidad de Cantabria

 Autoría: Ceballos-Santos S., González-Pardo J., Carslaw D.C., Santurtún A., Santibáñez M., Fernández-Olmo I.,

 Fuente: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2021, 18(24), 13347

Editorial: MDPI

 Fecha de publicación: 18/12/2021

Nº de páginas: 18

Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.3390/ijerph182413347

ISSN: 1661-7827,1660-4601