Winter burst of pristine Kashmir Valley air

Zainab Q. Hakim, Gufran Beig, Srinivas Reka, Shakil A. Romshoo, Irfan Rashid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The Kashmir Valley in India is one of the world's major tourist attractions and perceived as a pristine environment. Long term monitoring of fine particulate matter, PM2.5 (particles having aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 μm or less), responsible for deteriorating human health, has been done for the period 2013-14. Results indicate that air quality of the capital city Srinagar (34.1°N, 74.8°E) deteriorates significantly in particular during winter, where level of PM2.5 touches a peak value of 348 μg/m3 against the Indian permissible limit of 60 μg/m3. The emissions due to domestic coal usage are found to be 1246.4 tons/yr, which accounts for 84% of the total annual emissions. The on-line high-resolution weather research and forecasting model with embedded chemistry module (WRF-Chem), which accounts for emission inventory developed in this region reproduced the seasonal variability reasonably well. Cold temperatures with dry conditions along with elevated level of biofuel emissions from domestic sector are found to be the major processes responsible for winter period particulate pollution. The back trajectories show that westerly winds originating from Afghanistan and surrounding areas also contribute to the high PM2.5 levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3329
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2018

Cite this