Can polluted air from New Delhi reach Chennai? No, says IMD

CHENNAI: With the poor air quality in Delhi and the surrounding regions that led to a public health emergency, Sunday's social networks were filled with discussions about the possibility of polluted air in the national capital being pushed along the east coast to Chennai next week.

Weather blogger Pradeep John in his online post said that most parts of Tamil Nadu could see cloudy skies next week, as the break could see polluted air from northern India drifting to the east coast. “The air quality index (Particulate Matter 2.5) in Delhi was over 500, which is more than five times the moderate level. Next week, the air quality index for PM 2.5 in Tamil Nadu is expected to range between 200 and 300. Don't be surprised to wake up to cloudy skies next week, he said in a post, which also had POT Optical thickness satellite images of aerosol.

Even while netizens were discussing online publication, officials and experts said drifting of polluted air from Delhi to Chennai was not possible, as the city is receiving strong east-northeast winds.

“Delhi is far away. We have approximately 8 to 12 degrees of latitude and Delhi has approximately 30 degrees of latitude. The polluted air that travels to Chennai is not possible. There are also hills in the middle and we are receiving east-northeast winds. The polluted air in Delhi will have absolutely no impact on Chennai, said S Balachandran, deputy general manager of IMD.

“During the northeast monsoon, Chennai has winds from the east, northeast and southeast. So, if there is something wrong in the ocean, that air could be pushed towards Chennai. In addition, during the southwest monsoon, if Bengaluru has polluted the air, there are chances that he will move to Chennai due to the west winds. Otherwise, the surface level air package that moves from Delhi to Chennai is not possible during the northeast monsoon, ”said YEA Raj, former IMD chief Chennai.