Meteorological Conditions in South East Asia: 20 May 1999

Meteorological Conditions in SouthEast Asia

20 May 1999

The Meteorological Service of Singapore reports on 19 May 1999 for the South East Asian region: “Cloudy conditions were observed over southern Sumatra and central Kalimantan. The region remais clear of smoke haze”.

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Fig.1. Regional Surface Winds and Haze/Hot Spot Map, 19 May 1999
(Source: Meteorological Service of Singapore)

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 19 May 1999 these parameters show various fire weather conditions over South East Asia. The Fine Fuel Moisture Code (FFMC) is high in Java, Sumatra and northern Thailand.

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Fig.2., 3. and 4. FFMC, ISI and DMC output of the ASFWIS, 19 May 1999

The Indonesian Meteorological Agency Badan Meteorologi dan Geofisika forecasts clear to rainy conditions for Indonesia. Relative humidity is ranging from 42% up to 98%, and maximum temperatures were measured representative for following areas:

Palembang Samarinda Ujung Pandang Dili Bandung 30°C 33°C 31°C 30°C 33°C

The Forest Fire Prevention and Control Project (FFPCP) in Palembang (Sumatra) provides a new fire overview map on 19 May 1999.

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Fig.5. Fire Overview Map for 19 May 1999 of the FFPCP project in Palembang

The newest fire overview map is also available for the Integrated Forest Fire Management (IFFM) project in Samarinda (East Kalimantan) and shows five hot spots for the 19 May 1999.

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Fig.6. Fire Overview Map for 19 May 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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