Winds may help Singapore stay haze-free

A hazy view from Gardens by the Bay on Nov 2, 2014.
A hazy view from Gardens by the Bay on Nov 2, 2014.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

SINGAPORE may not be hit by haze in the coming days, even though the number of fires in Indonesia has gone up.

This is because the variable wind directions in the first two weeks of this month could just as easily bring the haze here as not, according to the National Environment Agency's (NEA's) forecast.

The Meteorological Service Singapore website said the number of hot spots in Sumatra in Indonesia spiked from about 30 to almost 140 between Wednesday and Saturday last week, although it dropped to about 20 yesterday.

However, the NEA said last week that winds blowing towards Singapore over the first fortnight of this month are expected to be predominantly from the south-east or south south-west.

Winds from the south south-west would come from Sumatra, and so have a higher risk of carrying haze to Singapore.

Winds from the south-east, on the other hand, would be unlikely to bring the haze.

In its forecast for the fortnight, the NEA said that "slightly hazy conditions can be expected on a few days, in particular in the early morning, due to the accumulation of particulate matter under light wind conditions".

Singapore's 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI), which indicates air quality here, stood between 59 and 65 across the island as of 8pm yesterday.

This puts it in the low-moderate range. Air is considered unhealthy when the 24-hour PSI crosses 100.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2015, with the headline 'Winds may help S'pore stay haze-free'. Print Edition | Subscribe