An increase in stubble burning in Haryana and Punjab and calm surface winds have kept Delhi under a blanket of a smoky haze but an imminent western disturbance is likely to ameliorate the situation, the Ministry of Earth Sciences air quality monitor, SAFAR, said on Thursday.
According to data from Punjab and Central Pollution Control Boards, the state has recorded a whopping increase of 7,842 fires - from 12,027 on October 27 to 19,869 on October 30.
While Haryana has recorded an increase of 476 cases - from 3,735 on October 27 to 4,211 on October 30.
"The overall air quality of Delhi continues to be in a severe category. The calm surface wind prevailing for the last two days has led to strong surface nocturnal inversion and accumulation of pollutants," SAFAR said.
The stubble fire count in Haryana and Punjab has increased. The share of stubble burning in Delhi's PM2.5 concentration was 27 percent on Thursday and is predicted to be 25 percent on Friday, it said.
On Thursday, smoke from crop residue burning accounted for 35 percent of Delhi's PM2.5 pollution, the highest this season.
SAFAR said the transport-level wind direction is likely to remain northwesterly, which is favorable for plume transport, for the next three days.
"An increase in surface wind speed is expected on Thursday. AQI is likely to improve slightly on Friday," it predicted.
A fresh western disturbance as a trough runs roughly along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border as of Thursday. It will approach northwest India by November 2.
"It is likely to influence Delhi's air quality positively. An improvement to the lower end of the very poor category is expected by November 2," it said.