This January is one of the foggiest in Delhi’s history.
And the way things are at the moment, it could break the all-time record on fog, the Met department said on Tuesday.
So far this month, the Delhi airport has witnessed a little over 150 hours of dense fog, when the visibility was below 200 meters. This is neck-to-neck with January’s all-time record of 168 hours of dense fog in 2003.
“With all the weather conditions required for dense fog persistent, the chances of this becoming the foggiest month ever are high,” said R.K. Jenamani, director of the Palam (airport) unit of the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
The all-time record for any month, and not just January, belongs to December 1998 clocking 179 hours of dense fog. “The present month’s record is getting closer to that,” he said.
Very dense fog also marred the Republic Day functions for some time as visibility dipped to a naught early morning. It was also one of the foggiest Republic Days in many years.
The Met said Tuesday’s fog was the most intense. Wednesday will not be any better.
In terms of number of foggy days, too, this January is catching up with the worst in the past.
As opposed to 27 days of fog in January in 2003 and 2004 in Delhi city (non-airport areas), this month has already clocked 26 days so far, the Safdarjung unit of the IMD said.
The airport got just five days of respite from between January 9 and 13. Between January 20 and 21 was the longest spell of dense fog for 14 hours.
What is making this year’s fog so much worse than the previous years’ is the calmness of the wind and frequent infusion of moisture in the city’s air coupled with low temperature.
“With Western disturbance bringing in the moisture, the agricultural fields of Haryana and UP, providing ready moisture feed to the city’s air, and with pollution on the rise, the city is always fog-prone during winter,” Jenamani said.
The temperatures spiralled a couple of degrees above normal, hovering between 9.4 and 22.8 degrees Celsius.