22-30 July 2021
North-West University
Africa/Johannesburg timezone
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Solar irradiance in Gauteng during the 2020 COVID-19 lock-down – can we detect decreased aerosol loading?

27 Jul 2021, 15:30
Potchefstroom Campus (North-West University)

Potchefstroom Campus

North-West University

Oral Presentation Track F - Applied Physics Applied Physics


Mr Charles H. Fourie (Dept. Physics, University of Johannesburg)


During the early high-level lockdown linked to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 much of the South African industrial and economic sectors ground to a halt. This provided an opportunity to identify the role human activities have on the local contribution to aerosol emissions in Gauteng by comparing the 2020 atmospheric turbidity during that time of the year with the levels observed in prior years. We examine Council for Scientific and Industrial Research solar spectral irradiance, broadband irradiance and weather data for the period in question together with corresponding data from an earlier year. We categorise days and months according to the measured degree of turbidity for the period April-July for 2018 and 2020 through analysis of the relationship between the measured irradiance and the solar zenith angle on cloud-free days. Spectral data also allows an insight into the aerosol type and particle size. We discuss whether the solar irradiance data provides evidence of lower aerosol concentrations due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

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Primary author

Mr Charles H. Fourie (Dept. Physics, University of Johannesburg)


Hartmut Winkler (Dept. Physics, University of Johannesburg) Kittessa Roro (NLC-CSIR)

Presentation Materials

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