Delhi breathes easier as air quality improves
Improved wind speed on Friday helped Delhi breathe relatively cleaner air as the air quality index (AQI) improved to moderate category, just two days after it had slipped into the severe zone.
The air quality index reading at 7am on Friday was 143, in the moderate category. According to the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) 4pm bulletin on Thursday, the average AQI stood at 302 compared to 413 on Wednesday and 379 on Tuesday.
The levels of particulate matter (PM) also came down significantly. On Thursday evening, the PM 10 (coarse dust particles) levels reduced to 218ug/m3 as compared to 410 ug/m3 at the same time the previous day. The PM 2.5 levels (the most harmful aerosols in Delhi’s air) also came down to133 ug/m3 from 243ug/m3 on Wednesday.
Scientists at the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the improvement was mainly because of a change in the wind direction and speed. On Thursday, traces of rain were observed at the Lodhi Road and Ridge weather stations. Safdarjung Observatory -- the official marker for the city’s weather -- did not record any rainfall.
The IMD had also predicted cold wave conditions in Delhi from November 27. “Due to the influence of a western disturbance over Afghanistan and neighbouring areas, fairly widespread rainfall and snowfall, as well as isolated hailstorms, are likely over Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit-Baltistan, Muzaffarabad and Himachal Pradesh from November 25, which will result in low temperatures in Delhi as well,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, head of IMD’s regional weather forecasting centre.
He said the minimum temperature is likely to remain around 6-7 degrees Celsius till November-end. “The skies will be clear again, and this will cool the surface down faster and reduce the temperature by the end of the week,” said Srivastava.
On Thursday, the minimum temperature was 10.4 degrees Celsius, a notch below normal. The maximum settled at 25.8 degrees Celsius, normal for this time of the year.