Thanks to the rain, Delhi has been breathing its cleanest air for two years

After rain the good weather ? The weather has played spoilsports for three days for the inhabitants of the region of Delhi, India, plagued by heavy showers. If rainfall of such magnitude in October represents an unusual weather phenomenon for New Delhians, it has nevertheless brought some respite to the most polluted capital in the world.

Indeed, Delhi breathed the purest air since August 31, 2020 on Monday, thanks to the rains of the last three days. According to data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the city’s 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) was 44 at 4 p.m. It was 48 on Sunday, 56 on Saturday and 55 on Friday.

In India, an AQI between zero and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor” and 401 and 500 “ strict « .

Monday was also the third best day for good air quality of the year. The city had recorded an average 24-hour AQI of 47 on September 16.

The nation’s capital has recorded 128 poor air quality days (AQI is poor, very poor or severe) this year so far.

Climatic changes

Many records were broken over the weekend. According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Delhi received the second highest rainfall since 2007 on Sunday with 74mm of rainfall.

Rainfall so far this month is about four times the normal rainfall of 28mm and three times the recorded rainfall (41.6mm) in August, which is the wettest month of the monsoon season.

« The amount of rain in the last few days is really not normal, because the monsoon usually ends in September », worries Harjeet Singh, expert on issues of impacts, migration and climate adaptation and strategic manager of the Climate Action Network International.

While these showers may have lowered the mercury and improved air quality, they nevertheless caused a significant slowdown in traffic and worsened congestion in certain parts of the capital. In effect, The duty saw the amounts of rain disrupting the movement of street vendors, rickshaw drivers and pedestrians through the city. On Saturday, the Delhi traffic police notably issued a notice to motorists, inviting them to reassess their trips due to congestion.

The consequences of this record rainfall, however, go far beyond the disruption of the road network, underlines Mr. Singh. “It will affect agricultural production, because normally it is the time of the year when the crops are put out to dry in the fields. These rains mean losses for the farmers,” he says.

For the expert in climate issues, there is no doubt about what lies behind these recent record rains. “Trends in recent years show just how messed up the climate system is. Extreme events are increasingly becoming a reality, we are already witnessing their increased frequency and intensity. It’s just a new normal here. »

This report was financed thanks to the support of the Transat-Le Devoir International Journalism Fund.

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