Transboundary haze unlikely to affect Singapore for the rest of the year: NEA

Rain showers over the past two weeks have cleared SIngapore's skies.
Rain showers over the past two weeks have cleared SIngapore's skies.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Transboundary haze is unlikely to affect the republic for the rest of the year, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Sunday, as the traditional dry period comes to an end.

"There has been an increase in rain showers over the past two weeks, signalling the end of the traditional dry season in the region," the NEA said in a media release.

The agency said this has helped to alleviate the hotspot and haze situation in Sumatra and Kalimantan, adding that more rain can also be expected in the coming weeks with the onset of the Northeast Monsoon in December.

"For the rest of the year, the likelihood of transboundary haze affecting Singapore is low, although there may still be brief periods of slight haze if winds are unfavourable," said the NEA.

The 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) is expected to be in the good (0-50) and moderate (51 to 100) range on Monday, with the prevailing winds forecast to be weak and variable. Thundery showers are also forecast for the afternoon and visibility is expected to be in the normal range.

Air quality was in the good and moderate range on Sunday, with the 24-hour PSI standing at 43 to 55 at 6pm.

The NEA said there have been showers over most parts of Sumatra on Sunday, and the total hotspot count in Sumatra was 31.

The agency added that based on most global climate models, the prevailing El Niño - which has exacerbated dry weather conditions in the region in previous months - is expected to persist into early 2016.

However, studies of past El Niño events have shown that the phenomenon has less impact on the rainfall pattern in Singapore and the nearby region during the wet phase of the Northeast Monsoon season in December and January.

With the improvement in the haze situation, the NEA said it will be discontinuing its daily haze advisory.

For PSI readings, the public can continue to go to the haze microsite at www.haze.gov.sg, follow NEA's Facebook and Twitter page, or download the myENV app.

samboh@sph.com.sg