NASA Image Reveals Hazardous Pre Monsoon Dust Pollution Over North India

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| June 20 , 2018 , 14:27 IST

North India has been witness to intense dust pollution for the past few years especially during summer. Dust storms start blowing across the country with the onset of summer and as winds pick up in late spring. These dust storms usually subside and end as Monsoon kicks in the country. This year, the phenomenon was different and worse for people living in North India especially in Delhi and its adjoining states.

Every year in April, May, and June, we see dust loading,” said Hiren Jethva, who studies aerosols with the Universities Space Research Association at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. “This year’s dust season, including this most recent event, has been unusual in terms of the intensity.”

The month of May saw extreme heat with lightning storms and intense dust. Storms over New Delhi in the second week of June led to severe pollution that made people suffer hazardous air while breathing. Visibility too took a hit.

As per NASA, the dust storm originated on 12 June from Rajasthan following strong winds in the Thar Desert. The dust then moved towards north-central India in the next 2-3 days. NASA has released an image taken on June 14 by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite that shows the dust trapped between the mountain ranges and appears in the shape of an upside down ‘V’.

Also Read: 26 Killed Across 11 Districts Of UP Due To Dust Storms And Lightning Strikes

The dust was expected to continue moving southeast towards the Bay of Bengal, but strong winds blowing northwest from the Bay of Bengal made it concentrate over the northern plain for another day thus causing more trouble for the already choked Delhi and its neighbourhood. Air quality in Delhi was at its worse on June 15.

The delay in the first spell of monsoon in Northern India has also been cited as a reason for the intense dust storm by NASA. These rains help dampen and remove dust and clean the air.