Insights on In-Situ Photochemistry Associated with Ozone Reduction in Guangzhou during the COVID-19 Lockdown

Kit Ying Shek, Yangzong Zeren, Hai Guo, Mei Li, Ming Liu, Bo Huang, Xiaopu Lyu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Increases in ground-level ozone (O3 ) have been observed during the COVID-19 lockdown in many places around the world, primarily due to the uncoordinated emission reductions of O3 precursors. In Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province in South China, O3 distinctively decreased during the lockdown. Such a phenomenon was attributed to meteorological variations and weakening of local O3 formation, as indicated by chemical transport models. However, the emission-based modellings were not fully validated by observations, especially for volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In this study, we analyzed the changes of O3 and its precursors, including VOCs, from the pre-lockdown (Pre-LD) to lockdown period (LD) spanning 1 week in Guangzhou. An observation-based box model was applied to understand the evolution of in-situ photochemistry. Indeed, the ambient concentrations of O3 precursors decreased significantly in the LD. A reduction of 20.7% was identified for the total mixing ratios of VOCs, and the transportation-related species experienced the biggest declines. However, the reduction of O3 precursors would not lead to a decrease of in-situ O3 production if the meteorology did not change between the Pre-LD and LD periods. Sensitivity tests indicated that O3 formation was limited by VOCs in both periods. The lower temperature and photolysis frequencies in the LD reversed the increase of O3 that would be caused by the emission reductions otherwise. This study reiterates the fact that O3 abatement requires coordinated control strategies, even if the emissions of O3 precursors can be significantly reduced in the short term.

Original languageEnglish
Article number212
Number of pages14
Issue number2
Early online date28 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • COVID-19 lockdown
  • Ground-level ozone
  • In-situ photochemistry
  • Photochemical box model
  • Volatile organic compounds


Dive into the research topics of 'Insights on In-Situ Photochemistry Associated with Ozone Reduction in Guangzhou during the COVID-19 Lockdown'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this