GFMC: Meterological Conditions and Fire in South East Asia

Meteorological Conditions and Firein South East Asia

01 April 2002


The TOMS Global Aerosol Hot Spots Page provides screened close-ups of regions with active fires and smoke emissions, displayed in the following table.

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23 March 2002 24 March 2002 25 March 2002

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26 March 2002 27 March 2002 29 March 2002

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30 March 2002 31 March 2002 01 April 2002

Smoke over South East Asia.
(Source: TOMS Global Aerosol Hot Spots Page)

The Meteorological Service of Singapore reports on 01 April 2002 for the South East Asian region: ”   A few hotspots were detected in Sumatra, Kalimantan and the peninsular Malaysia. Fcw hot spots were also observed in southern Thailand.” Forecasts of winds and surface pressure are also available.

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Regional Surface Winds and Haze/Fire Map, 01 April 2002
(Source: Meteorological Service of Singapore)

Review of Regional Weather and Smoke Haze
Some pockets of dry weather have started to develop over northern and central Sumatra and over a larger part of the northern half of Borneo in January as the northeast monsoon rain-belt progresses further south of the Equator over Southern Sumatra and Java island. The number of hot spots, however, was small on most days.
(SOURCE: Meteorological Service of Singapore)

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Fig.1: Daily Hot Spots Counts over Kalimantan in March 2002
(Source: Meteorological Service of Singapore)

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Fig.2: Daily Hot Spots Counts over Sumatra in March 2002
(Source: Meteorological Service of Singapore)

Weather and Haze Outlook
Tropical Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures (SSTs) were near normal to slightly above normal in September 2001. Most forecasts of advanced centres indicate SSTAs to increase slightly to above normal (+ 0.5º C ) by the end of the first quarter of 2002. This could indicate the possibility of the onset of a weak El Nino episode in the second half of 2002.
The region is expected to transit from the current Southwest Monsoon Season to inter-monsoon conditions in October and November. While brief periods of dry weather could still occur, particularly over southern Sumatra and Kalimantan in October 2001, most parts of the region should begin to experience increased thundery shower activities in the coming months. These should bring about an end the potential of any smoke haze in the region for the rest of 2001.

The Meteorological Service of Singapore provides rainfall-record charts for selected locations in Sumatra and Kalimantan with information about the mean annual rainfall and the actual monthly and weekly records for last year.

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Rainfall charts for Sumatra and Kalimantan
(Source: Meteorological Service of Singapore)

The GFMC displays selected and daily updated global and Asia-Pacific Experimental Climate Prediction Center (ECPC)  Fire Weather Forecasts. These examples allow a quicklook and provide daily and weekly total forecasts and forecasted monthly totals. For background information refer to the ECPC products description page.

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tomorrow this week this month

Fire Weather Index (FWI) forecast for tomorrow (left), this week (center) and the predicted
FWI total for next month (right) for the Western Pacific (1-3) and the Pacific Ocean (4-6) regions.
The weekly total forecast and the monthly forecasted total refer to 00:00 hrs UTC,
which is local noon at dateline (180° longitude). Forecast time is 12:00 hrs noon UTC (Greenwich)
corresponding to local evening time in mainland and insular SE Asia.
(Source: ECPC Fire Weather Index Forecast)

The ASEAN Fire Weather Information System (ASFWIS) is a co-operation between ASEAN and the Canadian Forest Service. It provides maps describing the current fire weather situation in South East Asia. This system is based upon the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System (CFFDRS) (for further infomation to the CFFDRS refer to ASFWIS). Studies have shown that the CFFDRS is applicable outside of Canada. Currently it is also used in a modified form in New Zealand (see References). In New Zealand the Fire Weather Indices Fine Fuel Moisture Code (FFMC) and the Initial Spread Index (ISI) represent the fire danger in the scrublands. The Duff Moisture Code (DMC) is also applicable in South East Asia, because it potentially describes the moisture state of the upper peat layers in peat and peat swamp forests. All three parameters may serve as a suitable indicator of forest fire danger in South East Asia.

According to the ASFWIS for 21 March 2002  these parameters show various fire weather conditions over South East Asia:

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Fine Fuel Moisture Code

Duff Moisture Code

Drought Code

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Initial Spread Index

Buildup Index

Fire Weather Index

Output maps of the ASFWIS, 31 March 2002
(Source: ASFWIS)

The Forest Fire Prevention and Control Project (FFPCP)
The Forest Fire Prevention and Control Project (FFPCP) in Palembang (Sumatra) closed on 30 November 2001. The South Sumatra Forest Fire Management Project (SSFFMP) is expected to start in June 2002 and will continue the work of FFPCP.
Meanwhile the daily fire map (hot-spot) and monthly drought index for Sumatra will continue to be updated from time to time. The last map is dated 21 March 2002.

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Fire overview map for Sumatra (31 March 2002)
(Source: FFPCP)

Haze Prevention Group
The industrial initiative to combat haze in SE Asia started to develop a website in February 2002. The website will include information about the objectives of this industrial initiative and the projects that are implemented to reduce wildfires and haze in pilot projects in Indonesia.

The ASEAN Haze Action Online provides the following information:

  • Monitoring: Hyperlinks to institutions involved in regional monitoring and prediction of fire and smoke haze
  • Haze News: ASEAN Transboundary Haze Update (updated daily)
  • Intranet: Information and possible participation in the ASEAN Haze Action Online Intranet Information Services (for associated registered participants)
  • Mobilization Plan: Model Fire Suppression Mobilization Plan
  • Inventory: Inventory and analysis of forest and land fire suppression capabilities
  • Haze Forum: Communication platform on fire and smoke-haze issues in the ASEAN region
  • Calendar: Fire and haze-related events can be identified by a search modus

The Integrated Forest Fire Management Project (IFFM) in Samarinda provides regulary updated  hot spots maps of Kalimantan.

For further information, please also have a look to the current and archived IFFN Country Notes.


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