Advanced air pollution warning system to predict stubble burning areas near Delhi -Shagun Kapil

-Down to Earth

The system, which tracks crop burning using satellite data, can also forecast air pollution levels for next 72 hours

The Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has launched an advanced Air Quality Early Warning System, which can predict places neighbouring Delhi that are likely to burn crop residue on a given day.

The system, developed by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, under MoES, uses data of stubble burning incidents from the past 15 years to predict the date and place of the next burning, and help authorities to act in advance.

“We have developed climatology of fire for last 15 years. So, we try to learn how many times an area has burned on a day and the average gives us a probability of that happening again,” said Sachin Ghude, lead scientist of the project.

“If the probability of an area is 60 per cent or more, we will give a forecast saying there’s a chance of a fire in that area. If it does not occur, then it will get corrected next day,” Ghude added.

Ghude said this is the first time that stubble burning is being forecast. “There have been forecast models for forest fires but for the first time we have come out with this,” he noted.

Using the data, the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), under the aegis of the Central Pollution Control Board, creates probability maps to alert government agencies about areas where the chances of stubble burning is going to be high.

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Down to Earth, 8 December, 2019,

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