Drier and hotter months ahead with higher risk of transboundary haze

Drier and warmer weather conditions are already being experienced here, indicating the start of the traditional dry season in the southern Asean region.
Drier and warmer weather conditions are already being experienced here, indicating the start of the traditional dry season in the southern Asean region. ST PHOTO: DANIEL NEO

SINGAPORE - There are drier and warmer months ahead for the Republic due to the prevailing El Nino weather phenomenon, which the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) said would also increase the risk of transboundary haze.

"We may see an escalation of hotspot activities, particularly in the fire prone provinces in Sumatra and Kalimantan," the MSS said in a media release on Friday.

It said sporadic hotspots from forest and plantation fires, with localised smoke plumes, had been observed in Sumatra in recent days, but the impact of the smoke haze on the republic would depend on factors such as the proximity and extent of the fires, the strength and direction of the prevailing winds, and the incidence and amount of rain.

The meteorological service said most models from major global climate centres show a high likelihood of the tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures continuing to warm over the coming months to reach strong El Nino levels.

Drier and warmer weather conditions are already being experienced here, indicating the start of the traditional dry season in the southern Asean region.

The total rainfall for June was 38 per cent below the long-term average, with average daily maximum and minimum temperatures between 31.9 and 26.5 deg C - about 0.6 and 1.7 deg C above the long-term average respectively.

Singapore expects lower than usual rainfall for the next few months, with the total monthly rainfall for July predicted to be 15 to 45 per cent below average.

In anticipation of drier weather - and thus the possibility of haze - the Inter-Agency Haze Task Force is coordinating the action plans of various agencies.

The National Environment Agency's (NEA) haze forecasts and advisories will take into account the Ministry of Health's health advisories and Ministry of Manpower's workplace guidelines.

The public can access NEA's advisories at the NEA website (www.nea.gov.sg), the haze microsite (www.haze.gov.sg), or follow NEA on NEA Facebook (www.facebook.com/NEASingapore) and NEA Twitter (@NEAsg).