Delhi-NCR set for cold, polluted days

Updated on Nov 11, 2019 07:58 AM IST

The drop in temperature is expected mainly due to a change in wind direction: from south-easterly to north-westerly, which will bring in cold winds from snow-clad mountains as well as smoke from farm fires in Punjab and Haryana.

Officially, the colder temperature will not be classified as winter since the India Meteorological Department (IMD) classifies the period between January 1 and February 28 for the season.(Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)
Officially, the colder temperature will not be classified as winter since the India Meteorological Department (IMD) classifies the period between January 1 and February 28 for the season.(Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

Temperatures are likely to drop by 2-4°C in the next few days, bringing winter-like conditions that could also lead to an increase in air pollution in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), weather and pollution forecasting officials said on Sunday.

The drop in temperature is expected mainly due to a change in wind direction: from south-easterly to north-westerly, which will bring in cold winds from snow-clad mountains as well as smoke from farm fires in Punjab and Haryana.

“There is a clear sky, which means radiation will be reflected back [at night]. Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh received heavy snowfall last week due to a western disturbance. These conditions will cause temperature to drop in the plains,” said Kuldeep Shrivastava, director of the Regional Weather Forecasting Centre (RWFC).

Officially, the colder temperature will not be classified as winter since the India Meteorological Department (IMD) classifies the period between January 1 and February 28 for the season.

According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences’s air quality early warning system Safar, “air quality is likely to deteriorate on November 11 and may remain in very poor category with higher values. It is likely to deteriorate marginally further on November 12 and may remain in upper end of very poor category and may reach in severe…”

This is because, the agency explained in its prediction, upper atmosphere winds, are bringing in farm fire smoke while calm surface will exacerbate local pollution. “The effective stubble fire counts started to increase and touched 1,882 on 9th November as against to 415 on Nov 8th,” the agency said.

The air quality index (AQI) in Delhi deteriorated to “very poor” category (321) on Sunday, compared to “poor” category (283) a day before.

An AQI between 201 and 300 is ‘poor’, 301-400 ‘very poor’ and 401-500 ‘severe’. An AQI above 500 falls in the severe plus category.

An official, however, said that air quality is unlikely to turn as bad as it had in the beginning of November. “There is a marginal increase [in pollution] because winds are northwesterly now. It may not increase very much after this,” said a Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) official who didn’t want to be named.

Wind speed on Sunday was about 15 to 16 kmph and is likely to reduce to 8 to 10 kmph on Monday and Tuesday, this person added. The minimum temperature in Delhi on Sunday was 14.5 degree C, one degree above normal. It is likely to reduce to about 11 degree C in the next few days.

Farm fires in Punjab and Haryana have been continuing, but are expected to come to an end gradually in the next few days.

“Very few farms are left with stubble. They will be burnt in the next one week. The Punjab government has announced ?100 per quintal subsidy to farmers with less than 5 acre farm land. But this was announced very late, so I am not sure if it will have any impact this year,” said Harinder Singh Lakhowal, general secretary of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) in Punjab.

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