KENSINGTON, Md. — A new study finds that cleaner air from the pandemic lockdown warmed the planet a bit in 2020, especially in places such as the eastern United States, Russia and China.
Tuesday’s study found the pandemic lockdown reduced soot and sulfate air pollution, but those particles also reflect the sun’s heat and help cool areas briefly.
The end result is that some places warmed temporarily as much as two-thirds of a degree last year and the planet as a whole warmed by about .05 degrees. The study’s lead author said that loss of cooling outweighed any reduction in 2020 of heat-trapping carbon pollution.