Meteorological Office Alarmed as Fog Leaves Bangalore
Published: 30th January 2014 07:53 AM |
This winter, fog did not descend on Bangalore even once, and that is bad news.
Fog is common on winter mornings, but hyper-urbanisation and the resultant pollution have altered the atmosphere in the city, famous at one time for its lush gardens and cool weather.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department, core areas of the city saw no fog this year. Winter wanes in the last week of January, and fog might not occur even once this season.
Experts say fog has occurred less frequently in Bangalore over the past few years. Coffee on misty mornings was one of Bangalore’s time-honoured conventions, but that romance is sliding into history.
Things are normal some distance from the city’s central areas, though. For example, Kempegowda International Airport, on the outskirts of Bangalore, experienced intense fog on four occasions and moderate fog on three since the beginning of the new year.
Visibility was reduced to 50 metres on January 12, and that affected landings and take-offs.
IMD Director B Puttanna said, “When visibility drops below 800 metres, we call it fog, and when it drops below 200 metres, we call it intense fog.”
Fog occurs when the moisture in the air is condensed by the cold. Temperatures did not drop below 14 degrees this season. As water bodies and trees make way for concrete buildings, moisture in the air vanishes.
Environmentalist Suresh Heblikar attributes the problem to quarrying and vehicular pollution, among other things.
“The green biomass in and around the city is depleting. With the disappearance of the hills, the water percolation area has come down,” he told City Express. Over-exploitation of ground water means there is little moisture on the surface of the earth, and subsequently in the atmosphere.
“A lot of heat is generated by the over 47 lakh vehicles in the city,” Heblikar said.
Bangalore is home to many industries and 12 per cent additional heat is radiated, he reckons, in the asphalted areas of the city.
“Fog is likely to disappear from the city permanently unless we do something quickly,” he said.