Better air, hotter day in capitalUpdated: Jan 03, 2020 22:07 IST
New Delhi Air quality in the capital improved, from the ‘severe’ zone over two days to ‘very poor’ on Friday, as per the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) air quality index (AQI) bulletin.
Scientists at the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that although the wind speed remained low, the increase in the day temperature helped disperse pollutants.
The 24-hour average AQI, as per the CPCB’s 4pm bulletin, was 352 on Friday, an improvement from 417 on Thursday.
On Wednesday too, the air quality was in the red zone, with an AQI recording of 437. Delhi’s air quality has remained in the ‘severe’ zone since December 28, when the AQI plunged to 409, barring December 31, when it improved to 387.
The level of finer particulate matter with diameter less than 2.5 micrometres (PM 2.5) had dipped to 200ug/m3 at 8pm on Friday. The level had crossed the emergency mark of 300ug/m3 on Thursday. The level of PM 10 (coarse particulate matter with diameter less than 10 micrometres) was 303.5ug/m3 at 8pm.
The maximum temperature recorded at the Safdarjung observatory was 23.5 degrees Celsius, nearly four degrees Celsius above normal. The minimum temperature was 7.6 degrees Celsius.
Experts said that similar conditions are likely to continue till Monday. Kuldeep Srivastava, head of IMD’s regional weather forecasting centre, said that the days are likely to remain warm till Monday, which will also keep pollution in check.
“The maximum temperature is likely to remain around 22 degrees Celsius. This means that even if the wind speeds are low — below 10kmph — the pollutants will get dispersed,” Srivastava said.
He said that there is also a forecast of moderate fog in certain parts of the city early Saturday. Earlier, the IMD forecast had stated that a western disturbance would, likely, bring rain to the national capital and also lead to faster winds.
“The effect of the western disturbance has weakened. Hence, the lack of rain. The average wind speed too remained around 10kmph,” a senior IMD scientist said.
The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the weather and air quality forecasting centre of the ministry of earth science, has forecast that the AQI will remain in the ‘very poor’ zone for the next two days. Officials said that it will, however, improve from Monday (December 6).
“Slight improvement is expecting only by January 6. As per SAFAR-model, tomorrow’s (Saturday’s) top three air pollution hotspots of Delhi are likely to be GT Road, Vasundhara and Sahibabad,” the forecast read.