Delhi: Low temperature, calm winds lead to 1st ‘severe’ air day of December

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Noida’s AQI Friday was 413, Ghaziabad’s was 419, while Gurgaon was ‘very poor’ with a reading of 386.

Calm winds and low temperature pushed the city’s average air quality into the ‘severe’ category for the first time this month, as experts forecast the weather conditions to stay the same until Tuesday.

As per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi’s average air quality index (AQI) Friday was 404, up from 382 Thursday. Parts of NCR also recorded ‘severe’ air quality for the second day in a row. Noida’s AQI Friday was 413, Ghaziabad’s was 419, while Gurgaon was ‘very poor’ with a reading of 386.

A report by the Centre-run SAFAR said, “Under this low ventilation condition, AQI is forecast to stay at the border of ‘very poor’ to ‘severe’ category until December 7. AQI may marginally improve (on Sunday), but recovery from the ‘very poor’ condition is not expected.”

An official from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said wind speed of around 8 km/hour was recorded in the city Friday, which was not enough to disperse pollutants. Delhi’s minimum temperature was 8.4 degrees Celsius and a high cloud was recorded over the city.

These meteorological conditions, IMD officials said, have acted in reduction of the mixing layer height in the city, which is the vertical distance in the air in which pollutants are suspended.

Wind speed is expected to remain low until December 10, which would hinder dispersion of pollutants, coupled with minimum temperature of around 8-9 degrees Celsius forecast by the IMD. The IMD also forecast shallow to moderate fog in the morning hours until December 11, following which a passing Western Disturbance is expected to increase wind speed and possibly bring light rain on December 12.