Delhi: First ‘severe’ air day of 2022, but relief likely soon

Delhi: 3 Jan, 2022 (Times of India)


NEW DELHI: Delhi woke up to a severely polluted air on Sunday with low wind speed and slightly high moisture playing the spoilsport. The year’s first “severe” air quality may, however, improve as a strong western disturbance is likely to affect the region from Monday. The city recorded an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 404 on Sunday against 362 a day earlier and 321 a day before that on a scale of 0 to 500.

The PM2.5 concentration on Sunday morning was 210.5 microgrammes per cubic meters, which worsened to 239.7 towards the evening. According to the pollution monitoring agency, the air quality is likely to improve over next few days.

“The prevailing cold wave conditions in the northwest region, with moderate winds blowing from the west/northwest direction, degraded the air quality. However, the maximum temperature shows a tendency to increase slightly for the next two days. The mixing layer height continues to be about 1km. The net effect is likely to keep AQI in the higher end of very poor for the next two days,” stated the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

On January 5, the AQI may again slip into the “severe” zone due to a likely drop in maximum temperature and a consequent reduction in ventilation. Meanwhile, the minimum temperature recorded a slight rise over past 24 hours. Safdarjung, the base station, recorded a minimum temperature of 5 degrees Celsius, two notches below the season’s average against 4.2 degrees Celsius a day earlier. The maximum temperature was recorded at 20.4 degrees Celsius, a degrees above the season’s average.

Weather analysts stated that the region may see rise in mercury.

“There are two back-to-back western disturbances likely in the region over next two days, which will lead to rain and a rise in temperatures. The first western disturbances will have its effect on January 5 and 6, with a possibility of rain on January 5. Another spell is likely on January 8 and 9, with a possibility of intense rain. The mercury will rise and, thus, there are no chances of cold wave for the next seven days,” said RK Jenamani, senior scientist, India Meteorological Department.

According to the IMD, on Monday, the maximum and minimum temperatures may hover around 21 and 6 degrees Celsius, respectively.