Warmest day of year so far, visibility up in early hours as severity of fog decreases
The city experienced its warmest day of the year so far on Wednesday, with the maximum temperature touching 31 degrees Celsius during the day. While the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) automatic weather station (AWS) for Gurugram did not record the minimum temperature for the day, the nearest AWS at the Palam observatory in Delhi recorded a minimum temperature at 14.2 degrees Celsius, also the highest it has been this year so far.
With rising temperatures, episodes of fog have also become less severe over the past two to three days, improving visibility on city streets during the early hours. As per official forecasts, the maximum daytime temperature will hover around 31 degrees Celsius for at least the next three days, while the minimum temperature will also remain between 13 and 14 degrees Celsius.
A slight dip in mercury may be felt between February 28 and March 1, as per the IMD’s seven-day weather forecast for Gurugram. Instead of moderate to dense episodes of fog, a light mist is expected to prevail for the next three to four days.
Air quality, meanwhile, remained in the poor category of the Central Pollution Control Board’s air quality index (AQI) for the fifth consecutive day on Wednesday, with a reading of 265 on the daily pollution bulletin — slightly worse than the AQI of 246 recorded a day prior. The average level of ultrafine particulate matter having a diameter of 2.5 microns or less (PM 2.5), the city’s primary pollutant, was 263 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m³) on Sunday, as per the CPCB’s air quality monitor at Vikas Sadan in Sector 11. At the official monitor in Sector 51, the PM 2.5 concentration stood at 301µg/m3.
As per official forecasts, pollution levels are unlikely to reach the very poor category (when the AQI crosses 300) as rising temperatures and increasing wind speeds will continue to disperse airborne pollutants. “With each day, the diffusion of pollutants becomes easier due to both vertical and horizontal movement of air, which is a result of warmer conditions setting in. The air is becoming less dense, allowing easier dispersal of pollutants even at lower wind speeds,” said VK Soni, head of the IMD’s environment monitoring and research centre.
As per the early air quality warning system for Delhi-NCR, “Air quality is likely to improve marginally and remain in poor category owing to better ventilation conditions over the next five days.”
A significant improvement, however, may be felt on February 26, when winds are expected to touch speeds of 12 to 15kmph, up from the prevailing speeds of 8 to 10kmph.