The scourge of air pollution seems to have hit the southern metropolis of Chennai as well as the city woke up to a hazy smog on Monday with PM 2.5 measure registering unhealthy levels. With the national capital being in the news for its worsening climate, the smog cover over Chennai set off alarms for the residents of the city fearing if their city would go the Delhi way.
If weather bloggers are to be believed, there may be a trickle-down effect on the Chennai’s pollution levels due to the acute pollution crisis suffered by the north India.
Weather blogger Pradeep John described that while the recurring problem of stubble burning by farmers in Haryana and Punjab has rarely affected states like Tamil Nadu, this time around it has coincided with the break in monsoon. John has predicted that most parts of Tamil Nadu will be covered with a hazy smog next week because of the pulled air from north India being down towards the southern India.
The dispersion models of SILAM vindicated John’s stands showing that smoke plumes were traveling east from Delhi into the Bay of Bengal, and from there drifting towards Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu.
— Raj Bhagat Palanichamy (@rajbhagatt) November 3, 2019
According to the experts, in the absence of north-easterly to easterly winds in the Bay of Bengal, which are mainly responsible for bringing seasonal rains to Chennai and Tamil Nadu, the polluted north-westerly winds from the north west India are moving towards the south and blowing into Chennai and along the south-eatern coastal line.
The weak #nem2019 is likely to create a different type of issue for parts of #TamilNadu due to strong continental winds instead of Easterlies. Coming few days places like #Chennai could see increased #pollution levels as indicated by ECMWF outputs in this chart. #Comk pic.twitter.com/jIv8XW07WZ
— Chennai Weather (COMK – Chennai Rains Blog) (@ChennaiRains) November 3, 2019
As a result of the above phenomenon, Chennai and major parts of southern India might experience a delay in the seasonal rains and increased pollution levels.
However, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) appeared to disagree with the opinion of the weather bloggers. The IMD says that it is impossible for polluted air to travel from Delhi, which is about 30 degree latitude. The deputy director general of the IMD, S Balachandran asserted that the pollution in Delhi has absolutely no impact on Chennai.
The former head of IMD, Chennai, YEA Raj said, “During northeast monsoon, Chennai has easterly, northeasterly and southeasterly winds. So if there is something wrong in the ocean, that air could get pushed towards Chennai. Also, during southwest monsoon, if Bengaluru has polluted air, there are chances of it drifting to Chennai due to the westerlies. Otherwise, the surface level air parcel moving from Delhi to Chennai is not possible during northeast monsoon.”