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Advanced air pollution warning system

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published

The Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has launched an advanced Air Quality Early Warning System, which can predict places neighbouring Delhi that are likely to burn crop residue on a given day.

Context

The Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has launched an advanced Air Quality Early Warning System, which can predict places neighbouring Delhi that are likely to burn crop residue on a given day.

Background:

  • The air quality in Delhi, the capital of India, according to a WHO survey of 1600 world cities, is the worst of any major city in the world. Agricultural stubble burning has been a major contributor for air pollution

AIR QUALITY EARLY WARNING SYSTEM (AQEWS):

  • The system has been developed by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, under MoES.
  • The AQEW system uses data of stubble burning incidents from the past 15 years to predict the date and place of the next burning.
  • This is then correlated with wind speed to predict air pollution level for next 72 hours.
  • It can also forecast the level of pollutants like particulate matter (PM) 2.5, PM10, and dust, coming from sources other than stubble burning.
  • Presently the system monitors and forecasts two types of pollutants – PM2.5 and CO (Carbon Monoxide).

Need for AQEWS:

  • Air quality index of Delhi is generally Moderate (101-200) level between January to September, and then it drastically deteriorates to Very Poor (301-400), Severe (401-500) or Hazardous (500+) levels in three months between October to December, due to various factors including stubble burning, fire crackers burning during Diwali and cold weather.
  • During the winter season (November to March) in North India, the prevailing atmospheric inversion limits the dispersal of pollutants as the upper level air is descending to ground level. The particulate emissions in other seasons are more or less same but comfortable convective upward atmospheric air circulation is able to disperse the pollutants. Hence in winter months the pollution is exacerbated in NCR region.
  • The early warning of pollution will provide the authorities data and time to respond accordingly in a time bound manner.
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