Back to news
16 Jan 2015 | News

HKH scientists plan to investigate the problem of fog in the Indo-Gangetic Plain

On 2-3 December 2014, about 20 scientists from five countries – Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal – gathered at the ICIMOD headquarters in Kathmandu to develop a research plan for studying the science, impacts and policy aspects of the fog that persists in the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) during winter season.

1 min Read

70% Complete
Inauguration of the newly established FABKA secretariat in Kathmandu. ICIMOD, 2019.

Since the winter of 1998-99, researchers have documented widespread fog that occurred over a 1,500 km distance in north-eastern Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. They speculated that the high sulfate content in the droplets could possibly be linked to the aqueous phase oxidation due to emission of coal-fired power plants situated upwind. Indian scientists have also noted the fog that occurs in Delhi during the post-monsoon (October-November) and winter seasons (December-February), with the highest density fog observed in December and January. During this period temperatures can go down below 10 degrees Celsius, which could be linked to human activities during stagnate high-pressure synoptic condition.

Winter fog is a natural meteorological phenomenon caused by water droplets suspended in the air, and is a common occurrence in this region during winter. However, in the last two decades, dense fog has been seen to stay for many days without a break, and this is establishing itself as a new phenomenon.  This causes frequent disruptions of road, air and railway traffic, leading to accidents. The dense and persistent fog also leads to winter crop loss and accompanying cold waves, resulting in various illnesses and deaths.

During the meeting, it was decided to conduct a pilot study in the five countries in 2014-15, and a full-scale study in the winter of 2015-16. Scientists from the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) and the Institute of Space Technology in Pakistan and colleagues from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), and Dibrugarh University are actively collecting ground observation and conducting satellite data analysis in their respective institutions. They are also using the meteorological models to understand the atmospheric processes. Scientists from Dhaka University and North-South University in Bangladesh, and Sherubtse University in Bhutan are studying the scientific aspects of the fog and assessing its impacts. The IT team at ICIMOD is also developing a Winter Fog App, which will allow the public to feed their own observations into ICIMOD’s central system. These observations will be complied and used in the research to help identify appropriate mitigation measures.

Stay current

Stay up to date on what’s happening around the HKH with our most recent publications and find out how you can help by subscribing to our mailing list.


Continue exploring this topic

24 Oct 2016 News
Monsoon Discharge Measurements of Langtang Khola and Lirung Outlet

To catch the highest discharge of Langtang Khola and Lirung outlet, a team of glacio-hydrologists from the International Centre for ...

11 Jul 2016 News
Kangchenjunga Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative (KLCDI) Pilot Implementation Phase Underway

The G B Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment & Sustainable Development, (GBPNIHESD), the Indian nodal organisation with support from ...

11 Aug 2017 News
Haa Summer Festival Showcases Local Culture for Tourism Promotion

Haa Valley is a pilot site of the Kangchenjunga Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative (KLCDI) of the International Centre for ...

12 Oct 2015 News
Highland festival brings Pakistan and China region together

Along the border of China and Pakistan, some fifteen thousand feet above sea level at Khunjerab pass, more than 5,000 ...