Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

{News} 080815 Haze again envelopes pakanbaru on Friday

Haze again envelopes pakanbaru on Friday


Pekanbaru, Riau, Aug 15 (ANTARA) - Haze from plantation and forest fires, again enveloped Pekanbaru, Riau Province, after two days of clear sky.


The haze reduced visibility for motorists so much that they had to turn on their head lights and decrease their speed.


"It's very annoying. We have to be extra careful because of the haze which has come back," Dian (23), a motorist, said.


The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s satellite had detected 28 hot spots in plantation and forest areas in Riau, including nine in Rokan Hilir, one in Bengkalis, five in Rokan Hulu, three in Siak, four in Sengingi and five in Indragiri Hulu.(Antara)

Source: http://enews.mcot.net/view.php?id=5765

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Indian Ocean Dipole 2008 Reducing Strength!

Dipole Mode Index The DMI is now less than 0.5 degree C. Showing the reducing strength of the positive dipole mode. Yet, the ocean and atmospheric condition need to be monitored closely.
Southeastern Tropical Indian Ocean SST Index

The SETIO show that cooling off the eastern IO region is reducing.

Source: http://ioc3.unesco.org/oopc/state_of_the_ocean/sur/ind/dmi.php

Vietnam Satellite Images! 13 Aug 2008





Sumatra and Java Satellite Images! 13 Aug 2008





Sulu Sea Satellite Images! 11 Aug 2008





Northern Borneo Satellite Images! 11 Aug 2008





Tuesday, August 12, 2008

{News} 080811 Is ocean fertilization really a viable way to slow down global warming?

Is ocean fertilization really a viable way to slow down global warming?
Asks Julie from Bloomington, Indiana


By Monica Heger, posted August 11th, 2008.
Ocean fertilization, the process of seeding the ocean with iron to instigate rapid algae growth, called an algae bloom, has been studied as one way to fight global warming. The idea is that through photosynthesis, the process by which plants use sunlight and carbon dioxide to generate their own food, the algae will remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, storing it harmlessly in the ocean.


But despite this seemingly simple solution, recent research has demonstrated that ocean fertilization may do more harm than good.
“If someone can get it to work correctly, [ocean fertilization] could be very useful,” says Michael Lutz, of the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, Florida. “It’s just the odds of that happening are pretty freaking low.”


The main problem is that in order to effectively store carbon, the algae have to sink to the ocean floor. If this crucial sinking step does not happen, the algae will decompose near the ocean surface, reemitting carbon into the atmosphere.


Research has demonstrated that as much as 50 percent and as little as 5 percent of the original carbon taken up by algae sinks below surface waters of 100 meters. And as little as 1 percent may make it to the ocean floor, about 500 meters deep, according to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts.


Algae are engineered to float, says Lutz. They store light oils and have gas vacuums that keep them from sinking. They were designed this way because like most plants, they want to be near sunlight, he says.


Phytoplankton that sinks (and escapes becoming a fish’s lunch) does decompose in deeper water. The carbon dioxide could theoretically stay in the deeper waters for up to 100 years before circulating back to the surface, although this time frame is not completely understood and depends on how deep the algae is when it decomposes.
The other problem with ocean fertilization is that, even if it does work, it could have many unintended consequences. Some research shows that ocean fertilization counters its objective and actually adds greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.


One by-product of algae decomposition is nitrous oxide, which has 300 times the greenhouse gas effect of carbon dioxide, says John Cullen, oceanographer at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. Cullen says the effects of nitrous oxide could potentially counter any benefit obtained from ocean fertilization.


Another problem is that adding carbon dioxide to the water makes it more acidic. Already, acidification effects from atmospheric carbon dioxide mixing with ocean surface water have been felt by marine life. The acidity eats at the coral reefs and the calcium carbonate shells of crabs, lobsters and other sea creatures.


If effective, ocean fertilization would remove the carbon dioxide from the surface waters, but it would also just redistribute it to deeper water. And no one really knows how acidity would affect life in the deep sea.


Even under the best circumstances, ocean fertilization could sequester a total of about one billion tons of carbon, estimates Ken Johnson, oceanographer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Meanwhile, we are emitting between seven and eight billion tons each year.
The question that Johnson says needs to be answered is: “If we try to fix what we’ve screwed up, do we make things better or worse?”And at least for now, the science suggests that ocean fertilization is not the best option.

Source: http://scienceline.org/2008/08/11/ask-heger-ocean-fertilization/

Monday, August 11, 2008

{News} 080809 煙霾影響印尼航空

煙霾影響印尼航空

2008-08-09 11:05
(印尼‧雅加達)印尼蘇門答臘島上林火有加劇跡象,所產生的煙霾籠罩多個縣市,開始對印尼航空交通造成影響。
近一週遭到濃霧包圍的廖內省首府北干亮霜市,附近的蘇丹夏立夫機場週五(8日)早上能見度200公尺,多個航班的起降時間不得不推遲。
此外,從雅加達飛往北干亮霜和棉蘭等地的多個航班,都因目的地機場的濃霧延遲起飛2小時以上。 星洲互動‧2008.08.09

Source: http://www.sinchew-i.com/sciWWW/node/36867?tid=6

{News} 080809 林火狂燒煙霧蒙蒙‧印尼航空交通受影響

林火狂燒煙霧蒙蒙‧印尼航空交通受影響

2008-08-09 11:59
(印尼‧甦門答臘)印尼甦門答臘島上林火有加劇跡象,由於所產生的煙霧籠罩多個縣市,已開始對印尼航空交通造成影響。
近一週來遭到濃霧包圍的廖內省首府北干亮霜市,附近的甦丹夏立夫機場週五(8日)上午能見度200公尺,多個航班的起降時間不得不推遲。
機場管理處副主任班查伊丹說,由於煙霧關系,能見度只有200公尺,至少有兩個航班、即曼達拉航空及雄獅航空飛往雅加達的班機展延起飛半個鐘頭,到籠罩機場煙霧退去後才恢復正常。
此外,從雅加達飛往北干亮霜和棉蘭等地的多個航班,都因目的地機場的濃霧延遲起飛兩小時以上。
林火所產生的煙霧前天就開始影響國內航空交通,廖內省的杜邁機場、西甦門答臘省巴東機場和南甦門答臘省首府巨港機場一度關閉。
氣象局方面指出,如果濃霧造成能見度在1500公尺以下,機場管理當局就應該禁止飛機起降,以策安全。(聯合早報網)星洲互動‧2008.08.09

Source: http://www.sinchew-i.com/sciWWW/node/36874?tid=6

{News} 080810 Visibility improves in three haze-hit areas in Penang

Visibility improves in three haze-hit areas in Penang

10 Aug 2008, BERNAMA

PENANG, SUN:
Visibility has improved in three of Penang’s haze-hit areas — Butterworth, Prai and Bayan Lepas — in the afternoon compared to the morning.
A spokesman of the Penang Meteorological Department said the reading at 3 pm in Butterworth was four km (compared to 800 metres in the morning), in Prai five km (four km) and in Bayan Lepas seven km (five km). The Air Pollutant Index (API) was 85 in Seberang Jaya, 64 in Prai and 57 in Universiti Sains Malaysia. The rating of 51 to 100 indicates moderate API.

Source: http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Sunday/NewsBreak/20080810180106/Article/index_html

{News} 080809 PAST PRESENT: 'The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of making a mistake.’

PAST PRESENT: 'The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of making a mistake.’

NST, 9 Aug 2008, By : A. Kathirasen

THE haze is getting rather worrisome.
No one is gasping for breath yet, but the haze clouding the Malaysian firmament is causing discomfort and disquiet. Our neighbour Indonesia has decided the time is ripe for its annual export of haze to Malaysia. Forests in Borneo and Sumatra are burning, due mainly to land clearing activities. Going by the number of hotspots there, the sky will not clear up for a while yet. More than 400 forest fires were spewing smoke last Thursday. But the Indonesians cannot claim sole credit for causing the haze shrouding Malaysia.

For, a fire has been burning since Aug 1 on about 49ha of agricultural land near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The land is part of the Kuala Langat Forest Reserve in Selangor. On Aug 2, the Air Pollutant Index reading for Port Klang was 104. Tanjung Malim registered an API reading of 110 last Monday. Anything above 100, the health authorities tell us, is unhealthy.It is truly amazing, then, that the haze has been allowed to become an annual affair.

Perhaps the Indonesian authorities are hazy about what should be done. Perhaps, clouded by a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of member states, Asean nations are in a daze over how to pressure Indonesia into decisive action. And what can I say about the gaze of our salaried environmental watchdogs and local authorities who seem to view open burning as a passing phase?Perhaps it's because our memory of the harm to health and environment caused by successive forest and peat fires over the years is somewhat hazy.

Remember the fire that razed almost four million hectares of forests in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, and a million hectares of forests in Sabah, in 1983? The fire, which blazed for nine months, is said to be the worst forest fire in recorded history.Has our memory of the 1991 Kalimantan fires become nebulous? That was the time when many Malaysians ventured outside wearing face masks.

What about the haze that hit us from July to October 1997? Is that a foggy memory too? A state of emergency was declared in Kuching for 10 days.Surely our memory cannot be so hazy that we have forgotten the state of emergency imposed on Kuala Selangor and Port Klang after air pollution reached dangerous levels in August 2005? Port Klang registered an API of 529 while Kuala Selangor had 531. In Kuala Lumpur the API reading reached 321.

Hundreds of schools were closed, flights disrupted and people were advised to stay indoors.I suspect that the haze has so insidiously wrapped its tenuous tendrils around us that we have come to accept it, albeit grudgingly, as part of our environment. And this is just the physical haze. What about the uncertain pall that has descended over the nation following the historic results of the March 8 general election? Too many things have been happening at dizzying speed and many remain in a daze.

We cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, blame the political haze on Indonesia but we can blame the world economy for the stomach-curdling economic haze that's swamping us. The spurt in petrol prices has sent prices of almost everything spiraling. Coupled with escalating food prices, it has struck us where it hurts most: our stomach. Then there is the perception that things are somewhat hazy with the police and the judiciary.

Did you notice that the haze -- whether in the physical, political, economic or judicial and law enforcement environment -- is man-made? Which means, of course, that it can be cleared. Malaysians, I believe, want to see the haze clearing. For, really, it has become wearisome.

Source: http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Sunday/Columns/2315507/Article/index_html

{News} 080807 Average rain - hooray!

Average rain - hooray!


GREGOR HEARD AND MATTHEW CAWOOD
7/08/2008 12:00:00 PM
It may not grab headlines, but for croppers across south-eastern Australia, forecasts of average rain patterns throughout the spring are good enough.
With solid July rain totals in many areas, an 'average' spring rainfall would be enough for a good winter harvest, to allow most grain farmers some chance at average yields.
With booming prices, that would be a start to replenishing depleted coffers.
After the nightmarish Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) reports in June which suggested a sharp swing towards a markedly drier than average spring, the most recent BOM rain forecast has predicted average conditions for much of south-eastern Australia.
The bureau said the pattern of seasonal rainfall odds across south-eastern Australia is a result of a continued strong warming trend, in the central and south eastern Indian Ocean, off the coast of Western Australia, and a warming trend over the equatorial Pacific.
In terms of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) index, conditions have remained close to neutral throughout July.
Modelling shows neutral conditions are likely to continue in 2008, with most models showing some warming in the coming season, but none suggesting a redevelopment of a La Niña and only a minority predicting a return to El Niño.
And since winter is a period of relatively high predictability, the neutral forecast can be viewed with some confidence.
The Indian Ocean is currently in a positive phase of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) (which increases the chance of low winter-spring falls in south east Australia), but the index used to measure the IOD, has weakened considerably since its peak in early June, boosting growers’ hopes for reasonable spring rain.
The IOD is forecast to persist but moderate further throughout the rest of the year.
In far western NSW there was a moderate swing towards the chance of below average rain in the coming three months.

The Land, August 7
Source: http://www.theland.com.au

{News} 080808 西日本の高温・少雨、インド洋の海水温上昇が原因 気象庁

西日本の高温・少雨、インド洋の海水温上昇が原因 気象庁


 7月の西日本の記録的な高温と少雨の原因について気象庁は8日、「インド洋の海水温上昇が原因」との見解を示した。地球温暖化も原因の一つという。今後2週間は西日本で気温が高い日が続くといい、四国の早明浦ダムなどで深刻な水不足が懸念されるほか、局地的豪雨が今後も続く可能性があるとして注意を呼びかけた。
 7月の西日本は高気圧に覆われて統計を始めた1946年以来、3番目の高温を記録。梅雨前線の活動が弱く降水量も過去最少だった。インド洋の海面水温が平年より高く強い上昇気流が発生。これにより日本に吹き込む偏西風が弱められたとみられ、西日本に高気圧が張り出した。
 太平洋西部で海面水温が高かったことも、西日本上空の高気圧を強める一因となったという。(08日 23:20)

Source: http://www.nikkei.co.jp/news/shakai/20080809AT1G0802908082008.html

{News} 080730 クローズアップ2008:温暖化よ、やっぱりお前か 局地に異変、気象ゲリラ

クローズアップ2008:温暖化よ、やっぱりお前か 局地に異変、気象ゲリラ
 金沢市で浅野川がはんらんし、神戸市灘区では都賀川の鉄砲水で4人が死亡、東京でもサッカーの五輪壮行試合が打ち切られた。28~29日の集中豪雨は、各方面に大きな被害・影響をもたらした。南の湿った空気と北の寒気が日本上空でぶつかり、大気の状態が不安定になったのが直接の原因とみられる。近年、こうした局地的な強い雨による被害が目立つようになった。背景にどんな気象の変化があるのか。【江口一、樋岡徹也、高橋昌紀】
 ◇豪雨、突風なぜ 急激に積乱雲
 気象庁は今回の集中豪雨の原因について、上空の寒気、地表付近の暖気、流れ込む暖かく湿った空気を挙げ、「天気が突然乱れる3要素がそろっていた」と説明する。
 28日は、日本列島上空(約5000~6000メートル)に、この時期
としては強い氷点下6度以下の寒気が流れ込んでいた。水難事故が起きた神戸市の最高気温は33度、平均湿度は80%で、地表付近は日中、夏らしい蒸し暑い日だった。日本付近の下層(上空約1000~1500メートル)に暖かく湿った空気をもたらしたのは、台湾付近にあった台風8号だ。
 上空の寒気は重いため下降気流となり、下層の湿った暖気は軽く上昇気流になる。両者が混ざり合って大気が不安定になり、北陸地方西部から近畿地方を中心に積乱雲が急激に発達。山の斜面など湿った空気が上昇しやすい地形では、局地的に1時間に100ミリに達する猛烈な豪雨となった。日本気象協会の富沢勝・気象予報士によると、スーパーコンピューターで20~30キロ四方ごとに気象状況を把握する気象庁のシステムでも予測できないほど、狭い地域での異変が相次いだという。
 大気が不安定な状態は27日から続いており、福井県敦賀市では突風でイベント用のテントが飛ばされ、1人が死亡している。29日にはサッカーの壮行試合が行われていた東京・新宿の国立競技場も豪雨に見舞われた。
 この時期は例年、太平洋高気圧の張り出しで北からの寒気は南下しにくい。しかし気象庁の村中明・主任予報官は「今年は張り出しが弱く寒気が入り込みやすい」と分析する。
 ◇インド洋高温影響も
 こうした気象条件は地球温暖化と関係があるのだろうか。
 国連の気候変動に関する政府間パネル(IPCC)などは、温暖化が進めば豪雨による降雨量は増えると予想する。東京大の山形俊男教授(気象力学)は「地球温暖化の影響でインド洋で異常な状態が起きている。それが日本の気象状況にも影響している可能性がある」と分析する。
 異常な状態とは、地球温暖化でインド洋の海水温が全体的に高くなってインド洋東部で海水温が下がり、西部(アフリカ東方沖)で上昇する「ダイポールモード現象」が今夏で3年連続で発生したことを指す。
 この現象は、太平洋赤道域から南米にかけて海水温が高くなり、世界中に異常気象をもたらすエルニーニョ現象と同様、地球温暖化との関連が指摘されている。この現象が起きると、日本では西日本が猛暑になるほか、世界各地に大雨や干ばつなどをもたらすことが知られている。山形教授は「3年連続の発生は、1950年代の観測開始以来初めて。温暖化の影響がインド洋に顕著に表れている証拠だ」という。
 また、温暖化が進み北極海の海氷が減少すれば、東アジアに寒気が入り込みやすくなるとの研究もある。
 ◇「親水護岸」裏目に
 4人が死亡した都賀川は全長1・8キロ。普段の水の深さは数十センチで、子供たちの格好の遊び場だった。
 国土交通省によると、高度成長期ごろまでは「危険な河川には人を近付かせない」との考え方が主流だった。しかし、河川行政への理解を深めてもらうことなどを目的に、国は80年代以降、水辺に遊歩道を整備したり水遊びできる環境を整えたりし始めた。事故は、こうした施策の盲点を突いたともいえる。
 親水的な考え方とは別に、国と都道府県は水防法に基づき、管理河川を2種類に指定しはんらん対策を行う。「洪水予報河川」は雨量に基づいた増水予測を事前算定しており、気象庁の予報を基に水位変化を予測する。「水位情報周知河川」は、予測はできないが、観測水位を基に危険性を判断する。いずれも避難判断水位(特別警戒水位)を設定しており、国や自治体による避難指示・勧告の目安となっている。
 国交省河川局によると、6月末現在、洪水予報河川は計333本、水位情報周知河川は計1237本。浅野川、都賀川は共に水位情報周知河川だ。都賀川の水難は、避難指示や勧告を出す間もなく起きた。同局河川計画課の担当者は「流域すべての監視は不可能だが、事故の教訓を少しでも生かしたい」と話す。
毎日新聞 2008年7月30日 東京朝刊

Source: http://mainichi.jp/select/opinion/closeup/news/20080730ddm003040075000c.html

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Sumatra and Java Satellite Images! 8 Aug 2008










Sulu Sea Satellite Images! 7 Aug 2008





Sumatra and Java Satellite Images! 7 Aug 2008





{News} 080809 Haze to remain awhile

Haze to remain awhile

The Star, 9 Aug 2008
THE haze in Penang is expected to stay a little longer as the wind is not strong enough to blow it away.


A check with the state Meteo-rological Department showed that visibility was as low as 1km in Butterworth and 6km in Prai and Bayan Lepas at 8am yesterday .
At 2pm, visibility was at 2km in Butterworth, 5km in Prai and 6km in Bayan Lepas.


A department spokesperson said the wind was coming and going in varying directions.
“The wind is only blowing at 10 to 20 km per hour,” she said, adding that the wind was supposed to be blowing from south-west at this time.

Source: http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2008/8/9/north/1768888&sec=north

{News} 080809 Sarawak bans open burning

Sarawak bans open burning

The Star, 9 Aug 2008
KUCHING: Sarawak has banned open burning after dozens of hotspots were detected in the state.
State Assistant Minister for Environment Dr Abang Abdul Rauf Abang Zain said there were 37 hotspots on Wednesday, down from 51 a day earlier.


He said there were 221 hotspots in neighbouring Kalimantan, Indonesia, and 400 hotspots in Sumatra on Wednesday.


“All parts of Sarawak recorded moderately healthy air quality. Samarahan recorded the highest air pollutant index of 57, followed by Bintulu, 56,” he added in a press statement yesterday.


Abang Rauf said the decision to stop open burning was because of the potential recurrence of haze as the fire weather index (FWI) had reached level 7. An FWI rating of 1 and below is considered a low fire hazard, 2 to 6 is moderate, 7 to 13 is high and above 13 extremely high.


He warned that anyone who defied the ban on open burning faced a fine of up to RM30,000 and three years’ jail on conviction under Natural Resources and Environment Board regulations.

Source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/8/9/nation/22030896&sec=nation

{News} 080808 Haze disrupts air traffic in Indonesian province, says official

Haze disrupts air traffic in Indonesian province, says official

8 Aug 2008, AFP
JAKARTA (AFP) — Thick haze from forest fires shrouded the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan Friday and disrupted air traffic, an airport official said.

"Two planes from Jakarta to Pontianak airport were delayed this morning due to the thick haze," Pontianak airport operational chief Edi Widodo told AFP.

He said the haze -- a recurring problem of the dry season which also affects neighbouring countries -- had hampered visibility since Thursday morning.

"It has happened since yesterday but the most significant disruption was this morning when it reached only 500 metres (yards)," he said.

The number of forest fires on Indonesian Borneo has soared over the past three days due to land clearing, raising concerns of foul air over Malaysia and Singapore.

The dry season from June to the end of September is the period of highest risk for the haze, which contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hFZL8mhtsfC4x6n1QI-OlfZ8K0eA

{News} 080807 Indonesia warns over forest fires on Borneo

Indonesia warns over forest fires on Borneo

7 Aug 2008, AFP
JAKARTA (AFP) — The number of forest fires on Indonesian Borneo has soared over the past two days due to land clearing, raising concerns it could lead to haze over Malaysia and Singapore, an official said Thursday.

More than 400 forest fires from traditional farming methods -- blamed for the smoke which shrouds the region annually -- were being monitored on Indonesian Borneo Thursday compared to 217 on Wednesday, officials said.

"It's doubled again to 415 hotspots, mostly from West Kalimantan," Israr Albar, a forestry ministry official monitoring the forest fires via satellite, told AFP.
He said 65 percent of hotspots recorded were from land clearing by local residents and the rest were from commercial plantation operations.

State-owned Antara news agency reported that the increasing number of forest fires had affected the air quality in Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan, despite government promises to control the annual burn-off.

"The air quality has been unhealthy for the last few days," the head of the provincial environmental impact agency was quoted as saying.

Malaysian environmental department director-general Rosnani Ibrahim said earlier this week that "we are concerned with the increasing number of hotspots," although there was no sign yet of a haze as a result.

The number of hotspots in Sumatra also showed a dramatic increase over the weekend, according to Malaysian meteorologists.

The dry season from June to the end of September is the period of highest risk for the haze, which has poisoned the air in neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore several times.
Experts also warn that the haze contributes significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions and could be impacting on climate change.

Source:http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jgXsy4Br4zHx5YmEyF_vGb-RON5Q

{News} 080808 Sarawak still records healthy air quality despite haze threat

Sarawak still records healthy air quality despite haze threat

Borneo Bulletin, 8 Aug 2008
KUCHING (Bernama) - Sarawak, which is facing the possibility of haze due to the prevailing southwesterly winds bringing in transboundary haze, still recorded a moderately healthy air quality index, State Assistant Minister of Environment Dr Abang Abdul Rauf Abang Zen said yesterday.


He said about 400 hotspots were detected in Sumatra and another 221 in Kalimantan, Indonesia while those in Sarawak had shown a decrease to 37 from 51 the previous day.


"As far as the air pollution index (API) in Sarawak is concerned, all recording stations recorded moderately healthy index of below 100, with the highest being reported in Kota Samarahan and Bintulu," he told Bernama.


With rain in various parts of the state helping reduce the impact of haze, the API recorded as at 11am yesterday morning for Kota Samarahan was 73, Bintulu (61), Kapit (53), Kuching (58), Miri (40), Sibu (55), Sarikei (50), Sri Aman (44) and Limbang (37).


He said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan, who is also the State Emergency Committee chairman, was also scheduled to hold a full briefing on the latest situation, which prompted an immediate freezing of open burning permits on Friday, Rauf added.


Source: http://www.brunei-online.com/bb/fri/aug8b3.htm

{News} 080808 Haze over Indonesia's Sumatra, flights delayed

Haze over Indonesia's Sumatra, flights delayed

Fri Aug 8, 2008, Reuters

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Choking smoke from forest fires hung over parts of Indonesia's Sumatra island on Friday, forcing a delay in flights, and prompting fears that conditions could worsen because of lack of rain, officials said.

About 450 hot spots have been detected across Indonesia, and forestry officials have warned that the number could exceed last year's total of 35,000 as the dry season this year is likely to be marked by less rain than usual.

"This morning two planes were delayed for half an hour because the visibility was only 200 metres because smoke and smog shrouded the airport," said Slamet Riyadi, analyst at Riau Meteorology and Geophysics Agency, referring to the airport in Pekanbaru, the provincial capital of Riau.

The number of hotspots had risen to 393 in West Kalimantan island on Borneo island, although the number in Sumatra had decreased after light rain late on Thursday, officials said.

Indonesia's neighbours have grown increasingly frustrated by the annual fires, most of which are deliberately lit by farmers, or by timber and plantation firms, to clear land for cultivation.
Depending on wind patterns, the smoke regularly blows across nearby Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, causing a health hazard and threatening tourism.

Most of the fires so far this year were on land being used for cultivation, although some were in forested areas, said Sonny Partono, head of forest fire control at the forestry ministry.
The ministry has said it is deploying 1,500 personnel to fight fires this year, assisted by community groups.

Source: http://in.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idINIndia-34895120080808

{News} 080806 Haze causing sniffs and coughs

Haze causing sniffs and coughs

The Star, 6 Aug 2008, By CHRISTINA CHIN
SINCE the haze was reported in May, paediatricians have recorded an increase in the number of patients suffering from respiratory problems.
According to Hope Children Hospital chief executive officer Andy Wee, there was a 20% increase in the number of patients since the haze started.


“All our three paediatricians reported an increase in the number of patients treated recently. The patients are mainly children with a history of asthmatic and respiratory ailments.
“Until the air quality improves, parents should ensure good air circulation inside the house by turning on the fan or air conditioner.

“If your kids are not feeling well, it is best to see a doctor and keep them home,” he said.
Consultant paediatrician Dr Koh Chong Tuan said there was “certainly an increase” in the number of patients affected by haze.


“It is not as many as last year but we don’t know whether the situation is going to become more serious later this month.


“I would advise children not to go outdoors when there is haze. In addition, those who have a history of suffering from recurrent coughs and running nose, allergic rhinitis and asthma are advised to see their doctors for preventive medication.


“Those who are having symptoms should seek treatment early,” he said, add- ing that the symptoms include nose block, running nose, nose itch, sore throat or throat irritation, cough, phlegm and breathlessness.


“Itchy and red eyes are also indicators to seek medical assistance,” he said.
According to a state Meteorological Department spokesman, the haze “should clear up” by next week.


“The skies became hazy about two weeks ago and by next week, we should have clear skies again because of the inter monsoon winds.


“Because of the morning showers, the dust particles are cleared up quite quickly so the visibility usually improves for a while. However, fair weather in the later part of the day reduces the visibility again because there is no rain to ‘clear the air’.


“The public should note that low visibility is not always caused by the haze. When there are thunderstorms, the clouds are low, thus the sky appears hazy - this normally occurs in the morning,” she said, adding that the haze situation was better now compared to last year.
“There were more hotspots last year and the weather was drier,” she explained.
She noted that visibility was very low in Butterworth at 8am yesterday.


“The visibility there was 1.5km in the early morning but the situation improved to 3km at 10am. In Bayan Lepas and Prai the visibility was between 6km to 8km at 8am.


“Although it rained in both the industrial areas of Bayan Lepas and Butterworth, the visibility was better on the island because geographically, it is surrounded by water so there is more water vapour in the air,” she said.


Source: http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2008/8/7/north/1749633&sec=north

Thursday, August 07, 2008

{News} 080807 Winds To Bring Haze To Brunei: Met Dept

Winds To Bring Haze To Brunei: Met Dept

Borneo Bulletin, 7 Aug 2008, By Azaraimy HH
Bandar Seri Begawan - The current slight haze over Brunei Darussalam is expected to gradually worsen due to the increase in hot spots in neighbouring countries and the prevailing dry season over these areas, Brunei's Meteorological Services said yesterday.


The number of forest fires on Indonesian Borneo has nearly doubled due to land clearing.
"Our latest data shows that the number of hot spots on Kalimantan Island has nearly doubled," Israr Albar, a forestry ministry official monitoring the forest fires via satellite, told AFP.
He said that some 217 hot spots recorded on Borneo were from land clearing in West Kalimantan province, compared with 122 recorded a day earlier.


The number of hot spots on Sumatra Island had decreased slightly to 423 from 557, he added.
The Duty Forecaster at the Department of Civil Aviation in Brunei told the Bulletin, "The strengthening of southwesterly winds into the country will also aid in transporting the smoke-haze from the areas into Brunei."

She said the severity of the haze, however, is yet determined as it would depend upon the severity of the dry season and consequent hot spots.
The Brunei Meteorological Services will continue its surveillance on the haze condition and appropriate actions will be taken to inform relevant government agencies and the public as and when the situation warrants.


Meanwhile, the regional haze map from the National Environment Agency, Singapore on August 5 indicated that hotspot activities continue to increase with most of the haze detected in West Kalimantan and Sarawak.
Meanwhile, all applications to conduct open burning in Sarawak have been frozen effective yesterday as a step to reduce the impact of haze, the state Assistant Minister of Environment Dr Abang Abdul Rauf Abang Zen said.


He said the state's Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) had issued the order after the Fire Weather Index (FWI) reached level 7 in the central region of the state, as well as in Sri Aman in the southern part of the state.
The FWI is a numerical rating of fire intensity derived from weather parameters such as temperature, rainfall, wind speed and relative humidity.


Under this rating, an FWI of 1 and below is considered as low fire hazard, 2 to 6 (moderate fire hazard), 7 to 13 (high fire hazard) and above 13 (extremely high fire hazard).
Dr Rauf said anyone who breached the NREB order is liable to a fine of up to RM30,000 and three years' imprisonment upon conviction.
He said the board had also detected a total of 51 hotspots in the state's central region as of 6pm yesterday.

Source: http://www.brudirect.com/DailyInfo/News/Archive/Aug08/070808/nite01.htm

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Sumatra and Java Satellite Images! 5 Aug 2008





{News} 080806 Riau health agency to provide 30,000 masks to anticipate worsening haze

Riau health agency to provide 30,000 masks to anticipate worsening haze

ANTARA News, 6 Aug 2008

Pekanbaru, Riau, (ANTARA News) - The Riau provincial health agency has provided 30,000 masks in anticipation of haze from forest fires which have been razing in some in Riau province, a spokesman said.Burhanudin Agung, head of the Riau public health and nutrition agency made the remarks here Tuesday, adding that the masks have been stored at the health agency`s storage facility prior to their distribution to the people.The Riau health agency has planned to distribute the masks to the people in all districts and towns which have been blanketed by the haze, he said.But the distribution of the masks had been postponed as the air pollution standard index (ISPU) of the haze is still on a moderate level, the spokesman said.The masks will be distributed immediately after the ISPU started to increase, Burhanuddin said.In the meantime, Blucer Dolog Saribu, head of the Pekanbaru Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) said that the result of a monitoring by the NOAA 18 satellite, there are now 78 hot spots in districts and towns. (*)

Source:http://www.antara.co.id/en/arc/2008/8/6/riau-health-agency-to-provide-30-000-masks-to-anticipate-worsening-haze

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

{News} 080805 Hazy days to continue

Hazy days to continue

The Star, 5 Aug 2008
By FLORENCE A. SAMY & LOH FOON FONG
KUALA LUMPUR: The haze is expected to continue a little longer as the number of hotspots in Sumatra is still hovering around the 150 mark and with little forecast of rain here.
In Sumatra, the number of hotspots had increased from 141 to 151 on Tuesday, but still much lower than the 285 on Sunday. In Borneo, the number of hotspots jumped to 253 yesterday from 43 on Monday.


Satellite pictures showed no hotspots in the peninsula on Tuesday, compared with two on Monday.


The Meteorological Services Department's (MSD) warning of low visibility – less than 5km – over northern Straits of Malacca waters still holds until Thursday.


The number of areas with moderate Air Pollutant Index (API) readings increased from 31 on Monday to 34 at 5pm Tuesday. Tanjung Malaim, which recorded unhealthy readings on Monday, had improved to a moderate 64.


Healthy API readings are between 0 and 50, and moderate from 51 to 100. Most moderate readings on Ruesday were between 51 and 70 except for Port Klang (78), Seberang Jaya 2 (87) and Kg Air Putih in Taiping, Perak, (76).


According to an MSD officer, there would be some rain in Kelantan, Perak and Pahang.
"The dry weather is expected to continue over the next few days, though the Klang Valley can except intermittent showers," he said.


Transboundary helpMeanwhile, Natural Resources and Environment Ministry secretary-general Datuk Suboh Mohd Yassin said Malaysia was working closely with Indonesia and Singapore to tackle the haze but added that the public also needed to play their part.


"Smokers sometimes throw cigarette butts indiscriminately and this can cause a fire. People should also be responsible and not resort to open burning," he said at a function on Tuesday.
At a separate function, Science, Technology and Innovations Minister Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili said the MSD was ready to implement cloud seeding to tackle the haze if needed.
Parts of the Elite Highway in SEPANG, was still shrouded in smog resulting from the 40ha peat fire that began on Sunday near the KL International Airport (KLIA).


Sepang Kuala Langat fire chief Supt Sharikan Bustaman said 132 fire fighters from 13 fire stations are fighting the fire, together with 18 staff members from the Kuala Langat and Selangor Forestry Department and six from the Sepang and Kuala Langat Drainage and Irrigation Department.
KLIA general manager Daud Hosnan said the sky over the airport was clear.

Source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/8/5/nation/20080805204052&sec=nation

{News} 080804 Haze eases up

Haze eases up

The Star, Aug 4, 2008
PETALING JAYA: The number of hotspots in both Sumatra and the peninsular has reduced by more than half despite the dry and warm weather.
In Sumatra, the number of hotspots had dropped to 145 from 285 while there were two hotspots in the peninsula on Monday compared with eight on Sunday.
At 5pm Monday, Butterworth recorded a visibility reading of 6km while it was between 8km and 9km in Prai, Sitiawan, Batu Embun, Bayan Lepas, Petaling Jaya, Muadzam Shah and Malacca.


In the rest of the peninsula, it was over 10km.
For the Air Pollutant Index (API), Tanjung Malim was listed unhealthy at 110 while 31 out of the 51 areas in the country recorded moderate API readings.
The Malaysia Meteorological Department said the weather conditions would remain warm with no rain for the next few days.


"Southwesterly winds will continue to blow from Sumatra but slight rain can be expected in Perlis, Kedah and northern Perak," he said.


Selangor Fire and Rescue Department operation centre officer Omar Atan said the department had managed to put out 28ha of the peat fire from the 49ha of agriculture land at Kilometre 24th of the Elite Highway near the KL International Airport. The area is part of the Kuala Langat Forest Reserve.
"About 140 firemen, led by Sepang Kuala Langat fire chief Supt Sharikan Bustaman, are fighting to put out the fire.
"We hope to completely put out the fire in the next one or two days," he said.


In GEORGE TOWN, Penangites may be able to breathe a little easier this week as the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings are expected to remain at moderate levels between 51 and 100.
The API readings recorded at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Prai and Seberang Jaya on Monday morning were 60, 58 and 78 respectively, according to a Department of Environment spokesman.


The state DOE chief assistant director Marzuki Mokhtar said the department was conducting more frequent patrols in the state and would be more strict in checking for open burnings and black smoke emissions from chimneys and vehicles.
He said the DOE had been working closely with other government bodies like the state Agriculture Department to monitor farming activities and the state Education Department to educate students on environmental issues.


"The public is more aware of environmental issues now. They have become our eyes and ears and are actively informing us of air pollution activities like open burnings," he said.
The state Health Department is also drawing up new programmes that focus on educating the public on haze and will deploy its officers to speak to students in schools.
"If the haze gets bad, they need to cut down on outdoor activities, wear masks, drink lots of water and seeks treatment if they suffer from breathing problems and throat infections," said its director Dr Teh Lei Cho.

Source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/8/4/nation/20080804203021&sec=nation

{News} 080804 Haze Hampers Visibility In Straits Of Malacca

Haze Hampers Visibility In Straits Of Malacca

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 4 (Bernama) -- The Meteorological Department Monday issued a warning on low visibility of below 5km due to haze in the northern part of the Straits of Malacca.In a statement today, it said the hazy conditions are expected to continue till Aug 7 and were dangerous to ships that did not have navigational equipment.The department also issued a warning on strong Southwesterly winds of 40-50km/h and rough seas with waves up to 3.5m over Condore and Terumbu Layang Layang waters.These conditions which are dangerous for small crafts, recreational sea activities and sea sports, are expected to continue till Aug 6.Another warning issued was for thunderstorms over waters off Kedah, Penang and Perak which are expected to last till noon Monday.The thunderstorms can cause strong winds of up to 40km/h and rough seas of up to 2.5m and are dangerous to small boats.-- BERNAMA

Source: http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v3/news.php?id=350421

Northern Borneo Satellite Images! 4 Aug 2008





Northern Borneo Satellite Images! 3 Aug 2008





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