GFMC: Meterological Conditions and Fire in South East Asia

SouthEast Asia

RegularFire and Weather Update

03 September 2002

The Meteorological ServicesDivision of Singapore provides a daily updated schematic of areasaffected by fires and smoke haze within the South East Asian region.Additionally, regional surface winds are displayed.

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Latest map of surface winds andsmoke haze/hot spots observed over cloud-free areas
(Source: Meteorological ServicesDivision of Singapore)

Forecastsof winds and surface pressure for the South East Asian region basedon Numerical Weather Product Models are also providedby Meteorological ServicesDivision of Singapore.

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

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 within the second half of the year 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.

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Latest fire overview map for Sumatra
(Source: FFPCP)

Operational Significant Event Imagery (OSEI)
The following significant events were identified by Satellite Analysis Branch meteorologists and reviewed by the OSEI support team.

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Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer(MODIS) satellite image of fires burning in Indonesia
Heat signatures (red) and smoke (gray) are visible from the fires

South East AsiaFire Monitoring by ANDES
The Asia Pacific Network for Disaster Mitigation using Earth ObservationSatellite (ANDES) provides daily fire maps of mainland and insular South EastAsia. The latest maps can be accessed through the ANDESwebsite. The map below shows the latest fire map of mainland SE Asia(Thailand, Myanmar, Lao, Cambodia, Viet Nam).

LatestANDESfire location map of mainland South East Asia.
The map is generated on the basis of two satellite sensors (NOOA-AVHRR, DMSP/OLS).
Source: ANDES

Review of Regional Weather and Smoke Haze
(Meteorological Service of Singapore2 September 2002)
Mostly dry weather conditions were observed over Kalimantan and parts of central and southern Sumatra since the beginning of August 2002. As a result, the number of hotspots over Sumatra and in particular, over Borneo went up to more than 380 and 1,200 respectively in the 14 – 18 Aug 2002 period.

Daily hot spots counts over Kalimantan and Sumatra from 1July to 18 August 2002

NOAA-12 satellite pictures between 16 and 18 August 2002 overBorneo indicated widespread moderate to thick smoke haze covering most parts ofKalimantan, with the smoke haze spreading over the southern half of Sarawak andparts of the southern South China Sea (see: Smokeand hotspots over Borneo on 18 Aug 2002).  In Sumatra, whilethe situation is not as serious, increased smoke haze have also been observed.The prevailing south-westerly wind has blown some smoke haze over PeninsularMalaysia and Singapore (see Hotspot/SmokeHaze over Sumatra on 17 Aug 2002).

Mostly weak El Niño conditions prevailed during July and August 2002, with sea-surface temperature (SST) anomalies remaining greater than 1°C throughout the central equatorial Pacific between 170°E and 120°W (left image).  The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) has been negative values since March 2002 (right image).

Left: Sea-Surface Temperature Anomalies (SSTA)in Region NINO 3.4 over the last decade
Right: Southern Oscillation Index (SOI)over the last decade
(Source: MeteorologicalServices Division of Singapore)

Weather and Haze Outlook
(MeteorologicalServices Division of Singapore 2 September 2002)

“Most coupled modeland statistical model forecasts indicate that El Niño conditions are likely tocontinue through the end of 2002 and into early 2003. While  there isconsiderable uncertainty in the forecasts about the timing and intensity of thepeak of this warm episode, all of the forecasts indicate that it will be muchweaker than the 1997-98 El Niño. Thus, it is likely that the global impacts ofthis warm episode should be correspondingly weaker than those observed duringthe very strong 1997-98 El Niño.
With the above assessment, a weak toat most moderate El Niño is expected to persist in the next 6 to 9 months. Withthe current SW Monsoon season, drier-than-average conditions can be expectedover Indonesia, particularly in southern Sumatra and Kalimantan in the next 2months. While widespread prolonged dry weather conditions and severe smoke hazeare not likely for the rest of the year, periods of slight to moderate haze areexpected in the region. Occurrences of moderate to thick smoke haze canalso be expected over some parts of southern Sumatra and Kalimantan should dryweather conditions continue prevail.”

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

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month September

Fire Weather Index (FWI) forecast for  thisweek (left) and the predictedFWI total for next month (right) for the Western Pacific (1-3) and the PacificOcean (4-6) regions.
The weekly total forecast and the monthly forecasted total refer to 00:00 hrsUTC,which is local noon at dateline (180° longitude). Forecast time is 12:00 hrsnoon UTC (Greenwich)corresponding to local evening time in mainland and insular SE Asia.
(Source: ECPCFire Weather Index Forecast)

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

The updated ASFWIS maps show fire weather, fuel conditions andfire behaviour parameters for 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

Latest output maps of the ASFWIS
(Source: ASFWIS)

Haze Prevention Group
The industrial initiative to combat haze in SE Asia provides a website which includes information about the objectives of this industrial initiative and projects implemented to reduce wildfires and haze 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

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

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