In the wake of the nationwide lockdown due to Covid-19, there has been a dramatic drop in pollution and aerosol levels reported all over the country. However, atmospheric scientists say that only during the monsoon will it be clear as to whether or not there has been any influence of such low pollution and reduced levels of aerosol on the overall rainfall.
Last week, aerosol levels in India became the lowest they had been in twenty years. Human activities and the transport sector are some major contributors for the formation of aerosols, in addition to natural sources like plants and trees.
Speaking about monsoon in a webinar, Ravi Nanjundiah, director, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) Pune, said previous studies showed that black carbon reduces the concentration of clouding. Similarly, the reduction in sulphates could reduce atmospheric heating, which means reduction in rainfall.
“However, in order to comment on whether reduced aerosol levels will have any impact on monsoon this year, we will have to wait for the actual season to commence. It could have some impact,” Nanjundiah said.
While people remained indoors, atmospheric scientists have benefitted from the natural setting, awarding more opportunities to study, he added.
The webinar was part of a special series organised by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.