613 Seminar: Anton Darmenov


With a population of over 1.3 billion people India can be severely impacted by air pollution episodes. A combination of abundant natural and man-made aerosols, regional topography and winds, increased industrial growth and urbanization, amplified by high population density can result in unhealthy levels if air pollution that can affect millions of people for days and weeks. In October-November 2016 a large scale air pollution event that coincided with the post-monsoon burning of crop residue in North India was observed from space. Characterization of the air pollution during this event and the effect on the population was however impeded by the sparse PM2.5 and other air-pollutants measurements. The goal of this study was to analyze the post-monsoon air pollution episode by using observations from NASA EOS satellites in conjunction with the GMAO GEOS system with emphasis on near real-time analysis and short term prediction capabilities. We examined and identified the major causes that contributed to this event. Our analysis showed a strong link between the agricultural fires and the air pollution levels in India. We also assessed the population affected by the crop residue burning using an air quality index derived from the standard model output.