Meteorological Conditions in South East Asia: 17 March 1999

Meteorological Conditions in SouthEast Asia

Currently there are no fire and fire-weather reports available from SE Asia. The prevailing weather conditions in insular SE Asia are wet with little to no fire danger. In mainland SE Asia the fire season shows the typical seasonal forest and grassland fire distribution. For details on recent fire and fire-weather updates: please visit the archived information on this website. For information on the format of meteorological and fire information the last update of 17 March 1999 is given below.

17 March 1999

The Meteorological Service of Singapore reports on 17 March 1999 for the South East Asian region: “Cloudy and wet conditions observed over central and northern Borneo and most parts of Sumatera. The region remains generally clear of smoke haze.” “Monitoring of satellite images and weather reports in the region shows that the region continues to be clear of significant forest fires and smoke haze. Only isolated and occasional hot spots and small smoke haze areas are being detected over central and northern parts of Sumatra”. “Latest reports and analyses have shown that the El Nino event which has brought the region severe dry condition since mid 1997 has weakened considerably. Areas of colder-than-normal sea surface temperature have appeared over parts of central Pacific Ocean, which when taken together with other information points to an increased chance of a La Nina event later in the year”. The Meteorological Service states for the near future that: “rainfall in the region is expected to be near or above normal for the next few months. However it should be noted that many parts of Indonesia (Kalimantan and parts of Sumatera) would be in their traditional dry season in the next few months. As such, though extensive and prolonged smoke haze is unlikely for this period, occasional short periods (e.g. a few days) of slight to moderate haze in a more localised manner remain probable”.

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Fig.1. Regional Surface Winds and Haze/Hot Spot Map, 17 March 1999
(Source: Meteorological Service of Singapore)

The Integrated Forest Fire Management (IFFM) project in Samarinda (East Kalimantan) reports on 17 March 13 hot spots with a detection threshold of 303°K. Most of them are located in the south of Kalimantan. Please note the detection problem due to substantial cloud cover.

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Fig.4. Fire Overview Map for 17 March 1999 of the IFFM project in Samarinda

The Indonesian Meteorological Agency Badan Meteorologi dan Geofisika forecasts rainy and cloudy conditions for Indonesia with maximum temperatures between 29°C (Bandung), 33°C (Samarinda), 30°C (Ujung Pandang) and 31°C (Dili), 31°C (Palembang) and relative humidity ranging from 53% up to 98%. The general forecast for Indonesia is rainy and cloudy.

No fire update information is currently provided by the Forest Fire Prevention and Control Project (FFPCP) in Palembang (Sumatera) and the Integrated Forest Fire Management (IFFM) project in Samarinda (East Kalimantan).

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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