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Brisk winds help flush air pollution in Delhi

Dec 07, 2023 05:20 AM IST

The Capital’s 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) reading was 297 on Tuesday, as per the national bulletin released by the Central Pollution Control Board.

Winds with a speed of 10kmph and an above-normal minimum temperature helped Delhi’s pollution levels drop into the “poor” category on Tuesday — the first time in a week.

Forecasts show Delhi’s pollution levels are likely to return to the “very poor” category by Wednesday. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)
Forecasts show Delhi’s pollution levels are likely to return to the “very poor” category by Wednesday. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

The Capital’s 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) reading was 297 on Tuesday, according to the national bulletin released by the Central Pollution Control Board — slightly better than Monday’s AQI of 310 (very poor).

The last time Delhi’s pollution levels were in the poor zone was on November 29, when light rain across the city brought the AQI down to 290. The AQI has not touched the severe zone since November 24, when it was 415.

Forecasts show Delhi’s pollution levels are likely to return to the “very poor” category by Wednesday. “Delhi’s air quality is likely to remain in the ‘very poor’ category from Wednesday till Friday. The outlook for the subsequent six days shows the air quality is likely to remain in the ‘very poor’ category,” said the Early Warning System for Delhi (EWS), a forecasting model under the ministry of earth sciences.

Meanwhile, Delhi logged a minimum temperature of 11.2 degrees Celsius (°C) on Tuesday – two degrees above normal for this time of the year, but a slight dip from the 14.6°C logged on Monday.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said the minimum is likely to remain around 10°C or higher for the next three to four days, as Delhi will see cloudiness and some moisture intrusion due to the impact of cyclone Michaung, which made landfall over the Andhra Pradesh coast on Tuesday.

“The minimum is likely to stabilise around 10-11 degrees Celsius now, with cloudiness persisting and no significant dip in minimum temperature expected in the coming days,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, scientist at IMD, adding that wind speeds are likely to go down to 4-6 kmph by Wednesday.

The lowest minimum so far this season was 9.2°C on November 23.

On Tuesday, the maximum was 25.4°C — normal for this time of the year, but slightly above the 24.7°C on Monday.

Delhi also recorded shallow fog in the morning, with the visibility dropping to 700 metres at Palam, and 600 metres at Safdarjung. Srivastava said the overnight rain on Sunday was influenced by a western disturbance, but though the weather system has moved away from the Capital, adequate moisture is still present in the air, and more moisture is coming from the Bay of Bengal.

However, the fog did not affect flight operations, said officials at Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport.

IMD classifies fog as ‘shallow’ when visibility is between 500 and 1000 metres, ‘moderate’ when it is between 200 and 500 metres and as ‘dense’ when visibility is below 200 metres.

“We also expect another western disturbance by December 11, which could again raise the minimum temperature,” Srivastava said.

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