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The Climate Response to Emissions Reductions Due to COVID-19: Initial Results From CovidMIP

Chris D. Jones, Jonathan Hickman, Steven T Rumbold, Jeremy Walton, Robin Lamboll, Ragnhild Bieltvedt Skeie, Stephanie Fiedler, Piers M. Forster, Joeri Rogelj, Manabu Abe, Michael Botzet, Katherine Calvin, Christophe Cassou, Jason N S Cole, Paolo Davini, Makoto Deushi, Martin Dix, J. C. Fyfe, Nathan P. Gillett, Tatiana Ilyina, Michio Kawamiya, Maxwell Kelley, Slava Kharin, Tsuyoshi Koshiro, Hongmei Li, Chloe MacKallah, Wolfgang A. Müller, Pierre Nabat, Twan Van Noije, Paul Nolan, Rumi Ohgaito, Dirk Jan Leo Oliviè, Naga Oshima, Jose Parodi, Thomas J. Reerink, Lili Ren, Anastasia Romanou, Roland Séférian, Yangming Tang, Claudia Timmreck, Jerry Tjiputra, Etienne Tourigny, Kostas Tsigaridis, Hailong Wang, Mingxuan Wu, Klaus Wyser, Shuting Yang, Yang Yang, Tilo Ziehn

Many nations responded to the corona virus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic by restricting travel and other activities during 2020, resulting in temporarily reduced emissions of CO2, other greenhouse gases and ozone and aerosol precursors. We present the initial results from a coordinated Intercomparison, CovidMIP, of Earth system model simulations which assess the impact on climate of these emissions reductions. 12 models performed multiple initial-condition ensembles to produce over 300 simulations spanning both initial condition and model structural uncertainty. We find model consensus on reduced aerosol amounts (particularly over southern and eastern Asia) and associated increases in surface shortwave radiation levels. However, any impact on near-surface temperature or rainfall during 2020–2024 is extremely small and is not detectable in this initial analysis. Regional analyses on a finer scale, and closer attention to extremes (especially linked to changes in atmospheric composition and air quality) are required to test the impact of COVID-19-related emission reductions on near-term climate.

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