Daily News Analysis

Dust winds in Delhi  

31st March, 2021 Geography

Context: Dust-laden winds swept Delhi, pushing the air quality into the poor category and increasing the concentration of coarse particles in the air. According to forecasts, strong winds that are carrying dust to Delhi from Rajasthan are expected to continue.



  • Weather and environmental experts said a cyclonic circulation over Rajasthan and high temperatures over the past few days in northwest India is contributing to this phenomenon.
  • Delhi witnesses long-range transport of dust nearly every year from Rajasthan, and even from Afghanistan, during summer months.
  • The situation this time has been exacerbated by soaring temperatures, as Delhi recorded a severe heat wave, with mercury rising to a high of 40.1 degrees Celsius, eight degrees above normal temperature for this time of the year.
  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has recorded a wind speed of about 40-50 kmph in Delhi which is helping in transport of dust but preventing temperature from rising further.
  • The concentration of particulate matter of 10 micrometres (PM10) — coarse particles suspended in the air was 341 micrograms per cubic metre air (µg/m3) as of 5pm, against the 24 hour acceptable limit of 100 µg/m3.
  • The concentration of PM2.5 particles that are smaller in size and are released from combustion activities was about 105 µg/m3, a little higher than the 24 hour acceptable limit of 60 µg/m3.


About India Meteorological Department:

  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India.
  • It is the principal agency responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting and seismology.
  • IMD is headquartered in Delhi and operates hundreds of observation stations across India and Antarctica.
  • Regional offices are at Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Nagpur, Guwahati and New Delhi
  • IMD is also one of the six Regional Specialised Meteorological Centres of the World Meteorological Organisation.
  • It has the responsibility for forecasting, naming and distribution of warnings for tropical cyclones in the Northern Indian Ocean region, including the Malacca Straits, the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf.