Document Type


Publication Date



The northern part of India, adjoining the Himalaya, is considered as one of the global hot spots of pollution because of various natural and anthropogenic factors. Throughout the year, the region is affected by pollution from various sources like dust, biomass burning, industrial and vehicular pollution, and myriad other anthropogenic emissions. These sources affect the air quality and health of millions of people who live in the Indo‐Gangetic Plains. The dust storms that occur during the premonsoon months of March–June every year are one of the principal sources of pollution and originate from the source region of Arabian Peninsula and the Thar desert located in north‐western India. In the year 2018, month of May, three back‐to‐back major dust storms occurred that caused massive damage, loss of human lives, and loss to property and had an impact on air quality and human health. In this paper, we combine observations from ground stations, satellites, and radiosonde networks to assess the impact of dust events in the month of May 2018, on meteorological parameters, aerosol properties, and air quality. We observed widespread changes associated with aerosol loadings, humidity, and vertical advection patterns with displacements of major trace and greenhouse gasses. We also notice drastic changes in suspended particulate matter concentrations, all of which can have significant ramifications in terms of human health and changes in weather pattern.


This article was originally published in GeoHealth, volume 3, in 2019. DOI: 10.1029/2018GH000170

Peer Reviewed



The authors

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.