Meteorological Conditions in South East Asia: 11 August 1999

Meteorological Conditions in SouthEast Asia

11 August 1999

ASEAN environment ministers have brought forward by two months a meeting to tackle the smog hanging over parts of the region from forest fires in Indonesia. The AMMH (Asean Ministerial Meeting on the Haze) will be held at the end of this month, because of the current situation of raging fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

On Monday, Indonesian President B.J. Habibie called for action to stop the forest fires. More details about this topic please refer to the report mentioned below.

It will be very important to bring forward the plan of an integrated forest fire management, including education, fire prevention, fire-fighting and surveillance techniques in the Indonesian region.

Two articles ASEAN brings forward smog meeting as fires rage (11 August 1999) and Indonesia’s Habibie calls for action to stop fires  (10 August 1999) published by Planet Ark gives further detailed information to the current situation in Indonesia..

The Meteorological Service of Singapore reports on 10 August 1999 for the South East Asian region: “Cloudy over Sumatra and over more than half of Kalimantan. Hot spots were detected in central, southern Sumatra and southwestern Kalimantan”.

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Fig.1. Regional Surface Winds and Haze/Hot Spot Map, 10 August 1999
Forecasts of winds and surface pressure are available at

A special site dedicated to haze/smoke, entitled with the same name HAZE, gives further information to the current haze situation over South East Asia and SEAsia haze related sites.

The GFMC displays selected and daily updated global and Asia-Pacific Experimental Climate Prediction Center (ECPC)  Fire Weather Forecasts (Fig.2-7). These examples allow a quicklook and provide daily and weekly total forecasts, and forecasted monthly anomalies (for this month). For background information refer to the ECPC products description page.

maps for Western-Pacific
lately not available maps for Western-Pacific
lately not available maps for Western-Pacific
lately not available

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tomorrow this week this month

Fig.2-7. Fire Weather Index (FWI) forecast for tomorrow (left), this week (center) and the predicted FWI anomaly for this month (right) for the Western Pacific and the Pacific Ocean. The daily forecast refers to 12:00 hrs noon UTC (Greenwich) time; the weekly total forecast and the monthly forecasted anomaly 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 (updated: 11 August 1999).

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 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 10 August 1999 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

Fig.8-13.  Output maps of the ASFWIS, 10 August 1999

The Indonesian Meteorological Agency Badan Meteorologi dan Geofisika publishs the Indonesia Daily Forecasting for tomorrow, 12 August 1999. For the representative selected areas metereological data are provided as follows:

Palembang Samarinda Ujung Pandang Dili Bandung Weather condition rain rain cloudy cloudy cloudy Temperature (min-max °C) 23-32°C 22-32°C 20-33°C 19-31°C 17-29°C Humidity (min-max %) 55-95 60-98 60-89 50-67 50-91

The Forest Fire Prevention and Control Project (FFPCP) in Palembang (Sumatra) provides a new fire overview map on 10 August 1999.

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Fig.14. Fire Overview Map for 10 August 1999 of the FFPCP project in Palembang. 80% of Sumatra is covered by clouds.

The newest fire overview map for the Integrated Forest Fire Management (IFFM) project in Kalimantan shows 9 hotspots on the 10 August 1999. Cloudy conditions over Kalimantan.

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Fig.15. Fire Overview Map for 10 August 1999 of the IFFM project in Samarinda

Summary: Although the current fire weather conditions do under normal conditions not favour extensive land clearing by fire or escaping wildfires in Indonesia, the consequences of the large wildfires of 1997-98 must been taken into consideration. These fires had caused extensive degradation of primary and secondary forests along with the spreading of “alang-alang” (Imperata cylindrica) grasslands. These grasslands facilitate the spread of uncontrolled fires over large areas.

See also the IFFN Country Notes.

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