Today I saw a rainbow after almost a decade. I live in Noida (a city) in India. Most people I know believe that: we don't see rainbows nowadays because of pollution and now after nearly 3 months since the COVID lock-down, the pollution must have come down and the rainbow was visible. Is this the reason why rainbows have become so rare or is it a false belief?

Here is news about the rainbow I saw here(so you can see the photos)

According to this site https://aqicn.org/map/delhi/ PM2.5 in Delhi(very close to Noida) today is $74$ and last year in 2019 on this day was $151$.

If the answer is yes, how does pollution impact rainbows?

  • $\begingroup$ for this to be true there has to be less sunlight(it is not) or it has to be less rainfall(in some areas this is true and in others it is more rainfall).i vote to close this as opinion based. $\endgroup$ – trond hansen May 31 '20 at 16:48
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    $\begingroup$ I Googled rainbows pollution and found some analysis: Scientific Attitude on Understanding Disappearance of Rainbow. $\endgroup$ – Keith McClary May 31 '20 at 17:05
  • $\begingroup$ Is the supposed scarcity of rainbows a local phenomenon? They don't seem to be any less common where I live (western USA), but then we don't experience a high level of air pollution. (Except during major fires.) But if your local air pollution is so bad that it makes the sky look like a brown haze, I could understand not seeing the rainbows due to a lot of the light being scattered. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Jun 1 '20 at 4:38
  • $\begingroup$ Refraction in water or ice drops causes rainbows, (Mie-)scattering happens through pollution. So there are two different principles here. If there are less rainbows in an area, than there's probably less water in the air. One could check a past climate trend for the area, but it may also be just a felt differencce. I am not into believing :-) $\endgroup$ – user20217 Jun 1 '20 at 8:27
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    $\begingroup$ @a_donda: What I'm suggesting is that the rainbow happens where the rain is falling, but that pollution scatters the light on the way from the rain to the observer, so the rainbow isn't visible. Basically the same reason you can see the distant mountains on a clear day, but not on a hazy one. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Jun 1 '20 at 17:47

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