SAFAR Initiative

SAFAR Initiative

The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Government of India, has introduced a major national initiative, -'System of Air Quality and Weather...

The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Government of India, has introduced a major national initiative, "System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research" known as "SAFAR" for greater metropolitan cities of India to provide location specific information on air quality in near real time and its forecast 1-3 days in advance for the first time in India.

It has been combined with the early warning system on weather parameters. The SAFAR system is developed by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, along with ESSO partner institutions namely India Meteorological Department (IMD) and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF).

The SAFAR observational network of Air Quality Monitoring Stations (AQMS) and Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) established within city limits represents selected microenvironments of the city including industrial, residential, background/ cleaner, urban complex, agricultural zones etc. as per international guidelines which ensures the true representation of city environment.

Pollutants monitored: PM1, PM2.5, PM10, Ozone, CO, NOx (NO, NO2), SO2, BC, Methane (CH4), Non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC), VOC’s, Benzene, Mercury Monitored Meteorological Parameters: UV Radiation, Rainfall, Temperature, Humidity, Wind speed, Wind direction, solar radiation This is the first of such kind of network in India which continuously monitors all these parameters and maintain up to date data base with robust quality control and quality assurance.

Air Quality Index (AQI) is a tool for effective communication of air quality status to people in terms, which are easy to understand. It transforms complex air quality data of various pollutants into a single number (index value), nomenclature and colour.

There are six AQI categories, namely Good + Satisfactory, Moderately polluted, Poor, Very Poor, and Severe. Each of these categories is decided based on ambient concentration values of air pollutants and their likely health impacts (known as health breakpoints). AQ sub-index and health breakpoints are evolved for eight pollutants (PM10, PM2.5, NO2, SO2, CO, O3, NH3, and Pb) for which short-term (upto 24-hours)
National Ambient Air Quality Standards are prescribed.

Based on the measured ambient concentrations of a pollutant, sub-index is calculated, which is a linear function of concentration (e.g. the sub-index for PM2.5 will be 51 at concentration 31 µg/m3, 100 at concentration 60 µg/m3, and 75 at concentration of 45 µg/m3). The worst sub-index determines the overall AQI.

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