The aim of the paper is to analyze the characteristics of winter fog in terms of its trend and spatial-temporal variability over Indo-Gangetic plains. The study reveals that during last four and half decades (1971-2015), an alarming increasing trend in fog frequency has been observed during the winter months of December and January over the study area. The frequency of fog has increased by 118.4% during the peak winter months of December and January. It has also been observed that on an average central part of IGP has 66.29% fog days followed by west IGP with 41.94% fog days. Further, Empirical Orthogonal Function (EOF) decomposition and Mann-Kendall variation analysis are used to analyze the spatial and temporal patterns of winter fog. The findings have significant implications for the further research of fog over IGP and formulate robust strategies to adapt the fog variability and mitigate its effects. The decision by Delhi Government to implement odd-even scheme to restrict the use of private vehicles in order to reduce pollution and improve quality of air may result in increasing the alarming increasing trend of fog over Delhi and its surrounding areas regions of IGP.
Every year, fog formation over the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGPs) of Indian region during the winter months of December and January is believed to create numerous hazards, inconvenience, and economic loss to the inhabitants of this densely populated region of Indian subcontinent. The aim of the paper is to analyze the spatial and temporal variability of winter fog over IGPs. Long term ground observations of visibility and other meteorological parameters (1971-2010) have been analyzed to understand the formation of fog phenomena and its relevance during the peak winter months of January and December over IGP of India. In order to examine the temporal variability, time series and trend analysis were carried out by using the Mann-Kendall Statistical test. Trend analysis performed by using the Mann-Kendall test, accepts the alternate hypothesis with 95% confidence level indicating that there exists a trend. Kendall tau’s statistics showed that there exists a positive correlation between time series and fog frequency. Further, the Theil and Sen’s median slope estimate showed that the magnitude of trend is positive. Magnitude is higher during January compared to December for the entire IGP except in December when it is high over the western IGP. Decade wise time series analysis revealed that there has been continuous increase in fog days. The net overall increase of 99 % was observed over IGP in last four decades. Diurnal variability and average daily persistence were computed by using descriptive statistical techniques. Geo-statistical analysis of fog was carried out to understand the spatial variability of fog. Geo-statistical analysis of fog revealed that IGP is a high fog prone zone with fog occurrence frequency of more than 66% days during the study period. Diurnal variability indicates the peak occurrence of fog is between 06:00 and 10:00 local time and average daily fog persistence extends to 5 to 7 hours during the peak winter season. The results would offer a new perspective to take proactive measures in reducing the irreparable damage that could be caused due to changing trends of fog.