Extreme Temperature Diary- Tuesday March 10th, 2020/ Main Topic: Update On How The Coronavirus Is Affecting Carbon Emissions

Tuesday March 10th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉

Main Topic: Update On How The Coronavirus Is Affecting Carbon Emissions

Dear Diary. This is the third post in which the main subject is ramifications from the coronavirus. Others are linked here:

As I keep stating over and over on this blog everything in this world is interconnected such that if one thing or action occurs another is affected, some very subtly, others obviously. Many mainline news outlets have thought of ways that the coronavirus outbreak, which is very close as of this writing to being called a pandemic by the World Health Organization, is or will be having some influence on the climate crisis. Obviously just like with the Great Recession of 2008 emissions will at least temporarily slow down as economic activity subsides, particularly as regards to transportation and air travel. Wikipedia is updating statistics on the Coronavirus daily:


Yesterday the stock market fell by a whopping 2013 points, mainly because of an oil war triggerd by the coronavirus between Saudi Arabia and Russia. Apparently Saudi Arabia felt like it was the right time to flood the world with cheap crude to gain more market share. This cheap oil will begin to affect the renewable or green energy sector, as well. At this point in time we just don’t know how bad the coronavirus outbreak will be planet wide or just how long the crisis will last. Will corona tend to be more virulent during cold months just like the flu or colds, tapering off its effects this spring and summer making a big comeback this fall? Is the crisis overblown by officials worldwide at this point despite the fact that humans have no immunity to COVID-19? I’ll endeavor time to time to bring you the latest news to answer these important questions.

For now, here is what we know about greenhouse gas emissions at least temporarily falling from the Washington Post. This is one small bright spot in an era in which the climate crisis is ramping up as a big threat to civilization as we know it:


The Energy 202: Three charts that explain what coronavirus is doing to climate emissions

By Dino Grandoni March 9


A person takes photographs of aircraft parked on the tarmac at Hong Kong International Airport. (Justin Chin/Bloomberg_

The quickly spreading coronavirus has closed schools, constricted travel, shaken markets and infected more than 100,000 people. It is also already having impact on the environment: The buildup of climate-warming emissions has dipped amid the outbreak.

The spread of a novel coronavirus around the world is nothing to celebrate. But it’s true that dampened demand for electricity, oil and air travel in China has led to a drop in greenhouse gas emissions in that country, the world’s largest contributor to climate change. And as the virus spreads, it may further weigh on economic activity in other nations and decrease their emissions.

These three charts explain what has happened to emissions during the outbreak — and where we may be going: 

1. The economy in China, the world’s largest emitter, has contracted. And that downturn may be best seen by looking up. More than a dozen airlines have scaled back service in China, where the outbreak began late last year. From Jan. 23 to Feb. 13, the number of daily departures and arrivals fell from 15,072 to just 2,004, according to the New York Times:

The air travel industry is just one of many affected by the virus. “If there is a bright side to the coronavirus,” Elizabeth Economy, a China expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, told The Post, “it is that the drop in industrial production, manufacturing, and automobile use will produce a noticeable drop in CO2 emissions for at least the first two months of the year.”

2. So now there is less air pollution in China. As my colleagues Chris Mooney, Brady Dennis and John Muyskens report, carbon emissions in China are down at least a quarter over February. So, too, has small-particle air pollution decreased. And most dramatically of all, concentrations of another pollutant released by burning fossil fuels called nitrogen dioxide — pictured below —  are down also about 40 percent.

3. But don’t expect it to last. Past crises — including the Great Depression, the oil shortages in the 1970s and, yes, an influenza pandemic in 1918 — have spurred drops in emissions before. But those declines proved to be fleeting. After the global economy regained its footing following the last dip during 2008 financial crash, for example, “[e]missions started to rise again almost immediately,” Mooney, Dennis and Muyskens write.


This viral outbreak could affect U.S. elections. If the crisis helps to derail Trump that would be a good thing for the climate. So far Trump’s attitude toward the science in association with the outbreak has been just about as bad as views regarding climate change. Also, how will the outbreak affect turnout at the polls? Will the crisis be over by November 2020 or in full swing affecting voter turnout? These are all things that will have climate change ramifications going forward in time. I’ll probably do another post on COVID-19 in another week or two, but from now on include updates on my news feed here:

Please consider donating through the Paypal widget on this site. I need everyone’s support to continue my work, especially that of processing NCEI record count data for scientific research.

Here is some more weather and climate news from Tuesday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have  put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity.)

Here are more “ET’s:”

(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.) 

Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”

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