Title

The Delhi ‘gas chamber’: smog, air pollution and the health emergency of November 2017

Source of Publication

Weather

Abstract

© 2018 Royal Meteorological Society The thick smog that blanketed India's capital, New Delhi, in early November 2017 saw air quality index values peak above 1000 – a figure in excess of three times the threshold value for ‘hazardous’ conditions. A public health emergency was declared. Delhi's smog was the result of an existing ambient urban air-pollution problem, significantly worsened by smoke blowing in from numerous agricultural fires burning across neighbouring Punjab and Haryana states. Post-summer monsoon regional air-flow patterns, decreasing autumn temperatures, high-pressure stability, temperature inversion and light local winds helped to produce climatic conditions that were conducive to smog build-up and subsequently prevented it from readily dispersing. Well-intentioned measures introduced by the authorities saw only partial improvement in city air quality after three weeks. To reduce the severity of future smog hazards, a region-wide agreement to restrict stubble burning during late autumn across northwest India will be needed.

Document Type

Article

First Page

348

Last Page

352

Publication Date

11-1-2018

DOI

10.1002/wea.3242

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