Air Quality Index (AQI) & SAFAR
Air Quality Index (AQI) or Air Pollution Index (API) or Pollutant Standard Index (PSI) is an index used by governments / Government agencies to characterize the quality of the air at a given location using the concentration of one or more pollutants as measure of severity of pollution. It’s a public information tool that helps protect public health on a daily basis from the negative effects of air pollution. The Air Quality Index is a scale designed to help public understand what the air quality around them means to their health. In addition, Emission inventory or criteria pollutants are an important component of the forecasting model.
In India, in the latter half of 2010, the “System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) was dedicated to the nation at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on the occasion of CWG New Delhi 2010. This system has been developed indigenously.
It encompasses 11 Air Quality Monitoring Stations, 34 Automatic weather stations in NCR along with GPS observations and Doppler Weather radar.
This is for the first time that India had a system for air quality forecasting and New Delhi became the first city in the country to be able to provide, 24 hour advance forecast for criteria pollutants namely Ozone, Oxides of Nitrogen, Carbon Monoxide, Particulate Matters <2.5µm (PM2.5), Particulate Matters < 10µm (PM10), Benzene, Toluene, Xylene, and Black carbon.
SAFAR system for the air quality has been developed by the Indian institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune and weather information and forecasting is done by India Meteorological Department (IMD).