NEA Says Risk Of Hazy Conditions In Singapore Due To Dry Weather Escalating Indonesian Hotspots
It wouldn’t have escaped Singaporeans’ attention that the past few months have been drier than usual.
This weather may, unfortunately, cause us to experience a phenomenon that we haven’t seen for a while — haze.
There’s a risk that hazy conditions will affect Singapore this coming week, said the National Environment Agency (NEA).
This comes after several hotspots were detected in Indonesia.
Sumatra hotspot activity has increased
In a Facebook post on Sunday (3 Sep), NEA broke some bad news: Hotspot activity in Sumatra has increased over the past few days.
On Saturday (2 Sep), 28 hotspots were detected, while 23 were found on Sunday (3 Sep).
Most of them are in southern Sumatra, though smoke plumes also emanate from some of the hotspots.
They are being blown towards the northwest, according to a satellite photo NEA posted that was taken by Japanese weather satellite Himawari 9.
At least the smoke plumes are still “some distance away from Singapore”, NEA said. Thus, they shouldn’t drift directly to Singapore under these prevailing winds.
Clusters of hotspots also detected in Kalimantan
In a 3 Sep update on NEA’s haze website, they also said the hotspots in southern Sumatra were mainly isolated.
However, “clusters of scattered hotspots” were detected in Kalimantan.
While the smoke plumes from southern Sumatra were “slight to moderate” and drifting towards the northwest, “moderate to dense smoke haze” was covering southern and southeastern Kalimantan.
This was drifting towards the northwest, and smoke haze over parts of West Kalimantan was drifting northwards.
Singapore faces risk of hazy conditions due to dry weather
Unfortunately, the dry weather the region is experiencing may escalate the situation, NEA said.
That’s because drier and warmer conditions are conducive to the development of peatland and vegetation fires.
Since such conditions are expected to continue over Sumatra, we can expect the hotspot and smoke haze situation there to worsen.
Thus, there’s a risk of hazy conditions affecting Singapore, NEA added.
Sadly, the dry weather is set to persist over most of southern Southeast Asia in the coming days, according to the haze website.
Highest PSI is within moderate range
So far, things aren’t too bad yet.
At 4pm on Sunday, the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) measured between 45 and 76, NEA said.
While anything 50 and below is considered “good”, a PSI of 51 to 100 is in the “moderate” range.
As of 12am on Monday (4 Sep), the air quality in the central, north, south and east of Singapore was “moderate”, while only the west had a PSI in the “good” range.
Air quality in the “unhealthy” to “very unhealthy” ranges was reported in parts of western Borneo, central and southern Sumatra.
Singapore warned of hazy conditions since May
In May, the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) said El Niño conditions in the second half of the year will bring higher temperatures to the region from June to October.
They arrived at the rating mainly because of the predicted heatwave that has so far proven to be true.
The Government is also making plans to prepare for the possible haze.
MSS encouraged the public to be prepared by ensuring they have enough N95 face masks and that their air purifiers are in good condition.
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Featured image adapted from Muhammad Faiz Zulkeflee on Unsplash.
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