While air pollution’s health and economic effects are well established, experts say it is also impacting the southwest monsoon and the country is at a risk of losing 10%-15% of mean rainfall in coming years.

India’s first smog tower in Delhi

  • Delhi, one of the most polluted cities in the country, on Monday got its first smog tower
  • The 20-metre-tall structure at Connaught Place is designed to work as a large-scale air purifier
  • Many such structures can be installed in the Capital if this pilot project yields results, said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

Places with highest levels of air pollution will see the maximum impact with some seeing a reduction in rains by almost half of their average rainfall, they say. Besides a decline in precipitation due to anthropogenic (human-led) emissions, the country might also see a surge in extreme weather events such as torrential rains, hailstorms or an increase in the number of dry days on account of rising air pollution, they add.

Air pollution is the result of suspended particles or aerosols in the atmosphere from anthropogenic sources along with natural dust. Dr Dilip Ganguly from the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, IIT- Delhi, says air pollution is likely to decrease the monsoon rainfall by 10%-15% for the entire country.

“Some places might even see a reduction of 50 per cent in rains. Air pollution does not allow the landmass to warm up to the required levels. Due to the presence of pollutants, the heating of land takes place at a slower rate,” he adds

Endorsing the views, Prof SN Tripathi from IIT-Kanpur and Steering Committee Member, National Clean Air Programme, said, “The most affected places would be the areas with more pollution.”

“The southwest monsoon is driven by the difference between land temperatures and ocean temperatures. Presence of a large scale of aerosols over the Indian landmass will affect the land surface. The entire process will lead to weakening of the dynamics of monsoon, which might even include delay the onset,” he added.


Source: 24 August, 2021, The Tribune