Delhi air quality nears very poor levels as mercury drops to season’s lowest

The air quality in the national capital hovered close to “very poor” levels on Wednesday and may even turn severe in some parts of the city over the next two days due to falling temperatures and calm winds.

The minimum temperature in the national capital dropped to 7.9 degrees Celsius, the season’s lowest, on Wednesday and is likely to drop further due to cold winds blowing from higher hills, officials said.

The city recorded a high of 24 degrees Celsius, which was a notch below the normal.

Weather experts said the minimum temperature is likely to drop to seven degrees Celsius by Friday. Falling temperatures and an expected dip in wind speed are likely to push the pollution levels up.

On Wednesday, the city’s air quality index read 296 at 4 pm, up from 282 at 4 pm on Tuesday.

“Pollution levels may increase due to light and calm winds, low temperatures and high humidity. Light rains are possible around December 12. Delhi may get some relief then,” Mahesh Palawat of Skymet Weather, a private forecaster, said.

The government’s air quality monitor, SAFAR, said the AQI is likely to deteriorate to the higher end of very poor category on Thursday and predicted to touch severe levels in some regions of Delhi on Friday.

The farm fire count was 250 on Tuesday. Transport-level winds are north-westerly and favourable for stubble plume intrusion.

Smoke from stubble burning is likely to account for nine percent of Delhi pollution PM2.5 pollution on Thursday.

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