How Much Does Large-Scale Crop Residue Burning Affect the Air Quality in Delhi?

Santosh H. Kulkarni, Sachin D. Ghude, Chinmay Jena, Rama K. Karumuri, Baerbel Sinha, V. Sinha, Rajesh Kumar, V. K. Soni, Manoj Khare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Elevated PM2.5 concentrations frequently cause severe air pollution events in Delhi. Till recently, the effect of crop residue burning on the air quality in Delhi has not been fully quantified and the approaches to control the impact of fire emissions have not been effective. In this study, for the first time, we quantified the statewise contribution of post-monsoon crop residue burning in the northwestern states of India to surface PM2.5 concentrations in Delhi using several sensitivity experiments with the Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with Chemistry (WRF-Chem) and FINNv1.5 fire emission inventory. Results were evaluated with ground-based observations in Delhi (21 stations), Punjab, and Haryana (14 stations). On average, ∼20% of PM2.5 concentration in Delhi during the post-monsoon season (October-November) was found to be contributed by nonlocal fire emissions. However, on typical air pollution events, fire emissions contributed as high as 50-75% (80-120 μg/m3) to PM2.5 in Delhi, highlighting the importance of both external transport and local emissions to PM2.5 pollution in Delhi.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4790-4799
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental science & technology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 21 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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