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Advanced weather forecasting system unveiled at Chandni Chowk

A sophisticated weather forecasting system that will give out real time air quality index, advance forecasts and health advisories, was unveiled here today by Earth Sciences and Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan. SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting), the first of its kind in the country, is located at Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi. A giant LED display will give out real-time air quality index on a 24×7 basis with colour coding along with 72-hour advance forecast, a official statement said. The system was developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune in record time and operationalised by the India Meteorological Department, it said. Addressing a large gathering at Town Hall in Chandni Chowk, Vardhan said based on the air quality index on a particular day, health advisory and related precaution will be notified to prepare people well in advance. The Chandni Chowk air quality station will also measure the Suns UV-Index and will provide online information about ultrafine particles PM1 and mercury, both of which have direct relevance to human health, he said. Based on the UVI, skin advisories will be displayed, the minister said. The system will measure regular air quality parameters such as PM2.5 and PM10, besides the levels of sulphur dioxide, ozone, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, benzene, toluene and xylene. According to a preliminary economic assessment of the benefits of the system, if five per cent of the people suffering from air pollution-related diseases take advantage of the advisories and precautions in Delhi alone, it would result in a saving of nearly Rs 2,500 crore in terms of health-related cost benefit, Besides the health aspect, the SAFAR system would benefit cost savings to several other sectors such agriculture, aviation, infrastructure, disaster management skill and tourism, among others, which directly or indirectly get affected by air quality and weather, the statement said.

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