Impact of coronavirus-driven reduction in aerosols on precipitation in the western United States
Among the many impacts of COVID-19, the pandemic led to improved air quality conditions in the countries under quarantine due to the shutdown of industries, drastically reduced traffic, and lockdowns. Meanwhile, the western United States, particularly the coastal areas from Washington to California, received much less precipitation than normal during early 2020. Is it possible that this reduction in precipitation was driven by the reduced aerosols due to the coronavirus? Here we show that the reduction in aerosols resulted in higher temperatures (up to ∼0.5 °C) and generally lower snow amounts but cannot explain the observed low precipitation amounts over this region. In addition to an assessment of the effects of the coronavirus-related reduction in aerosols on precipitation across the western United States, our findings also provide basic information on the potential impacts different mitigation efforts aimed at reducing anthropogenic aerosols would have on the regional climate.