Impact of COVID-19 lockdown upon the air quality and surface urban heat island intensity over the United Arab Emirates

Abduldaem S. Alqasemi, Mohamed E. Hereher, Gordana Kaplan, Ayad M.Fadhil Al-Quraishi, Hakim Saibi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


The 2019 pandemic of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus Diseases (COVID-19) has posed a substantial threat to public health and major global economic losses. The Northern Emirates of the United Arab Emirates (NEUAE) had imposed intense preventive lockdown measures. On the first of April 2020, a lockdown was implemented. It was assumed, due to lower emissions, that the air quality and Surface Urban Heat Island Intensity (SUHII) had been strengthened significantly. In this research, three parameters for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD), and SUHII variables were examined through the NEUAE. we evaluated the percentage of the change in these parameters as revealed by satellite data for 2 cycles in 2019 (March 1st to June 30th) and 2020 (March 1st to June 30th). The core results showed that during lockdown periods, the average of NO2, AOD, and SUHII levels declined by 23.7%, 3.7%, and 19.2%, respectively, compared to the same period in 2019. Validation for results demonstrates a high agreement between the predicted and measured values. The agreement was as high as R2=0.7, R2=0.6, and R2=0.68 for NO2, AOD, and night LST, respectively, indicating significant positive linear correlations. The current study concludes that due to declining automobile and industrial emissions in the NEUAE, the lockdown initiatives substantially lowered NO2, AOD, and SUHII. In addition, the aerosols did not alter significantly since they are often linked to the natural occurrence of dust storms throughout this time of the year. The pandemic is likely to influence several policy decisions to introduce strategies to control air pollution and SUHII. Lockdown experiences may theoretically play a key role in the future as a possible solution for air pollution and SUHII abatement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number144330
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2021


  • AOD
  • COVID-19
  • Lockdown
  • NO
  • Northern emirates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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