SYNOPSIS OF RESEARCH WORK

The work of Prof. (Dr.) Beig covered all 3 fundamental aspects of atmospheric Chemistry research viz. experimental, modeling and diagnostic from surface to upper atmosphere leading to ~204, SCI publications with ~6500 citations (H-index 41). He formulated new chemical schemes and empirical parameterization to augment and indigenize current coupled atmospheric chemistry transport models which has significantly enhanced the skill of short to extended range air quality forecast. He developed high-resolution gridded emission inventories of major chemical species for different metro cities that not only fulfilled the critical input for forecasting models but also helped plan mitigation strategies. This work let him to develop the first operational air quality forecasting framework for Indian metro cities popularly known as SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and research) which is serving to society. He explained processes leading to extreme pollution events owing to stubble burning, dust storm and severe weather and quantified relative share. In recent time, his work on estimating the baseline level (natural sources) of major air pollutants under COVID-19 lockdown scenario yielded a much awaited feedback for pulmonologist and establish that it is aged black carbon based particulate matters (and not any PM2.5) which can act as carried to spread Corona virus. In other important contributions, he assessed temperature trends in the upper atmosphere revealing cooling because of increase in greenhouse gases. This finding has strong implications in navigation system, radio communication, and satellite.

RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS

Prof. (Dr.) Gufran Beig has made a significant contribution in atmospheric Chemistry by advancing present understanding on atmospheric processes governing chemical composition and air pollution through modelling and observations. The impact of changing chemical composition and deteriorating air quality on Human health has also been taken which also includes their linkages with COVID-19 spread. To simulate the current state of chemical atmosphere and forecast from the regional to local scale, he has made quite a few processes based developmental work by including a number of chemical schemes and empirical parameterization to indigenize current regional chemical transport models, suited for Indian environmental conditions and prevailing seasonal meteorology. His pioneering work on middle atmospheric cooling trend as a result of increase in greenhouse gas emissions is noteworthy. During the course of his work, nominee has made quite a few original contributions. A few major accomplishments are listed below in brief:

01.   Mitigation Strategy of Biomass Induced Extreme Pollution:

India is an agriculture-based economy; a large fraction of crop residue is being burned directly on fields that are one of the major sources of extreme pollution episodes. His research proposed a theory that if the Kharif crop is sowed just about a month earlier resulting in advancing stubble burning by the same period then national capital megacity Delhi can minimize the emergency episodes created by residue burning. Research finding was based on SAFAR interactive high-resolution model forced with newly developed synergized gridded stubble burning emission inventory along with normal emissions. It is envisaged that the mitigation approach proposed in this work could be a potential option for policy planners. This may have significant implication in health sector and may reduce number of hospital visit related to respiratory system diseases and likely to reduce mortality and morbidity rates. Finding will help policy makers and technologists.

02.  Linkages of Air Quality and Weather with COVID-19:

Amid COVID-19, the temporary control measure in India has provided an opportunity to realize the impact of decrease in human mobility on the environment. Significant reductions (~6080%) in Indian mega cities are observed. A study was also carried out to understand the association of COVID-19 mortality and infections with several environmental and weather markers in 6 major metro cities of India namely, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Pune. A strong association of COVID-19 mortality with baseline PM2.5 levels is found. The baseline levels of all major pollutants have been experimentally achieved for the first time due to COVID-19 induced lockdown. It is a level that is naturally present in the atmosphere with minimal anthropogenic emissions under fair weather conditions. The study has implication to environmental policy and mitigation strategies.

03.  Dust Storm and Extreme Air Quality Prediction:

Dust Module for Predicting The development of a fine dust module consisting of short to large scale transport with an option of multiple dust schemes to better predict extreme pollution events when integrated in an existing forecasting system with a choice of scheme based on the synoptic weather features. The augmentation of this module enabled to predict dust storm related air pollution emergencies, with higher lead time of several days. The new scheme simulated the role of monsoon dynamics in transporting the dust emitted from multiple dust storms, 3000km away in the Middle East, leading to prolonged extreme pollution in Northern India with an epicenter in Delhi. Understanding the multi-scale nature of such events led us to improve our ability to forecast these events. A paper based on this work is published.

04.   High resolution Emission Inventory:

Development of ultra-high-resolution emissions inventories (400m x 400m) of selected mega cities that not only improved the skill of chemical forecast but also adopted by policy-making government agencies to plan mitigation strategies. Inventory is developed for eight air pollutants (PM2.5, PM10, NOx, CO, SO2, BC, OC, VOCs) by mapping around 26 different local sources of air pollution. The growth or decline of emissions during the period 2010 and 2018 has been estimated. While fossil fuel related emissions increased sharply, the biofuel emissions indicated a significant decline in around one decade.

05.   Clearing Smog's particulate problem:

Many cities in Asia have high pollution but why Delhi experience far higher reduced visibility during winter? A noble finding that local emissions of gas phase HCl from industrial metal-, e-waste-, and plastic contained waste-burning forms chlorine rich particulate matters, which are responsible for nearly 50% of the reduced visibility in Delhi, under specific meteorological conditions during foggy-smoggy winter episodes. Identification and reduction of chloride emissions could therefore improve visibility and human health across the region.

06.   Stubble Burning Quantification:

To address the impact of stubble burning of North India on its winter air quality, dynamic gridded emission inventory of Kharif crop burning of Punjab, Haryana and surrounding regions has been developed by synergizing Multi-satellite data and ground reality, having implications to better understand Capital's winter pollution emergencies. The incorporating dynamic stubble emissions facilitated quantification of its role in deteriorating the air quality of distant regions. The impact of biomass burning on Delhi's PM2.5 is found to vary on day-to day basis as it is highly dependent on transportation pathway of air mass, controlled by meteorological parameters from source to target region. Paper discussing the methodology is published.

07.   Air Quality and Human Health:

Addressing the Health impact of the exposure of PM2.5 to disease burden and life expectancy in different states of India. The research estimated that if the air pollution level in India were less than the minimum causing health loss, the average life expectancy in 2017 would have been higher by 17 years, with this increase exceeding 2 years in the north Indian states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana. Results on the impact of air pollution on Human health are published in two paper in a high impact factor journal.

08.  Global Modeling and Ozone Sectorial Contribution:

Model for Ozone and Related chemical Tracers being used to study the impact of reduction in the anthropogenic emissions from the energy, industry and transport sectors on Ozone in different seasons in South Asia. Transportation sector has the greatest impact on ozone mixing ratios during summer (at 200 hPa) and winter (at surface) seasons, followed by energy and industrial sectors. It is found that maximum decrease in O3 is trapped in the anticyclone circulation; however, noticeable decrease in O3 over the Pacific Ocean, north-western part of West Africa and is also seen at 200hPa. We find that more health benefits can be achieved if global emissions are decreased by 20% .

09.   MAPAN (Modelling Air Pollution And Networking) network:

Nominee has established nation-wide network to investigate the atmospheric chemical parameters and chemical characterization in different regions of India. This effort also led to the development of integrated approach to explore the chemical weather and estimation of radiative forcing.

10.   Environmental Knowledge Sharing:

In addition to the above, nominee is making an effort to communicate the practical application of scientific outcome to the common man and society to enhance the scientific outreach. For the purpose, a center in IITM is developed, which is known as- "Environmental Information System Centre" on "Acid Rain and Atmospheric Pollution" leading to "Environmental Survey" and outreach activities in the following areas: (1) Prevention of Pollution; (2) Environmental Planning and Management; (3) Environmental Impact Assessment; (4) Outstanding field work (innovative research work) for Enrichment of Environment; (5) Environmental Education; and (6) Creating Awareness on Environmental Issues.