The link between Delhi’s topography and pollution

Landlocked Delhi and its neighbouring cities are cursed with a specific post-monsoon phenomenon.

Wind speeds drop to a third of what they are during summer, putting the region into a virtual “air-lock.” While the wind blows from the west, bringing with it dust from India’s desert regions and depositing it over the Indo-Gangetic plain as it slows down.

Since both Haryana and Punjab fall to the west of Delhi, the wind also brings pollutants from the farm fires in these states into the city.

Wind patterns have also changed over the past few years, possibly due to the impact of climate change, Down To Earth magazine had reported in 2018. For this reason, winter in some years in the north registers more smog-filled days than before.

Weather forecast for the last week of November said wind speeds will pick up and improve Delhi’s air quality from “very poor” to “moderate.”

And once the stubble fires subside, air quality will become a conversation for the next winter.

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.