Air quality during the Corona Lockdown

Measurement campaign during the lockdown

On May 9th, an extraordinary measurement campaign of two subprojects of the BMBF-Programme 'Urban Climate in Change' took place in Stuttgart. Researchers from the Institute of Combustion and Power Plant Technology (IfK; sub-project leader: Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Vogt) at the University of Stuttgart, the Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZ Jülich; sub-project leader Dr. Dieter Klemp) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) undertook extensive measurements of air pollutants. The FZ Jülich researchers used a large zeppelin equipped with measuring instruments flying above Stuttgart at an altitude of several hundred metres, after having previously carried out measurements in the Cologne-Bonn area. The aim of FZ Jülich for the Rhineland was to measure the effects of the lockdown due to the corona pandemic on air quality.

At the same time as the Zeppelin, the measurement vehicle with the mobile laboratory (MobiLab) of FZ Jülich, the measurement bicycle of the IfK and a measurement vehicle of the DLR were also in use in Stuttgart. With the use of measuring vehicles and Zeppelin, extensive three-dimensional and spatially distributed data on air quality in Stuttgart could be obtained in addition to the usual station data. The focus of the measurements was on air pollutants such as fine dust, soot and carbon monoxide.

The Principal Investigator of another sub-project (DLR, Thilo Erbertseder) also participated in a DLR study on the effects of the lockdown on air quality. Compared to last year, the Sentinel-5P satellite showed a strong global decrease of nitrogen dioxide (NO2). By incorporating long-term data from the European satellite MetOP-A, measurements at ground stations, consideration of weather-related fluctuations in NO2 concentrations and computer modelling, a strong reduction in air pollution over Lombardy was clearly shown. 



Properly dressed scientists in front of the measurement vehicles of the FZ Jülich and the DLR. In the middle of the photo you may see the measuring bicycle of the IfK of the University of Stuttgart. © DLR/FrankEppler

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Discussion at the measurement bicycle. © DLR/FrankEppler Preparations for the measurement campaign. © DLR/Frank Eppler