Haze Over Riau Clearing But Flights Still Delayed

Heat wave increases number of hotspots

11 May 2011

published by www.thejakartapost.com

Indonesia — The heat wave in northern parts of Sumatra over the past few days has reportedly sparked an increasing number of hotspots in areas.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has been recording hotspots in Riau and North Sumatra from May 7 due to the extreme heat.

Based on BMKG data, the number of hotspots detected on Tuesday amounted to 136 compared to only 60 two days earlier.

Medan Polonia BMKG Data and Information section head Hartanto said the number of hotspots would highly likely increase because there was no sign yet the heat would give off.

“The temperature in North Sumatra has reached up to 36.3 degrees Celsius over the past several days.

“It is predicted to rise further this week. We predict the number of hotspots will also rise,” Hartanto told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

He explained that the current heat in North Sumatra had been at its highest in six years.

Hartanto said in 2004, North Sumatra experienced a heat wave with 36.6 degrees Celsius temperatures.

He said the current heat wave resulted from the sun’s movement, which is in the northern hemisphere now, thus causing optimal sun in North Sumatra.

The condition, added Hartanto, was also triggered by winds, which makes it difficult to develop clouds.

When asked for confirmation, North Sumatra Forestry Office head James Siringo-Ringo said the heat wave over the past few days had sparked forest fires in a number of forested areas such as in Labuhan Batu and Padang Lawas regencies.

“We have told the regencies to stay alert to the possibility of the spread of forest fires,” said James.

He added his office would deploy forestry officers to patrol the forests located in various areas, which are prone to forest fires.

“Some of our forests are prone to fires, especially during extreme weather, such as in Labuhan Batu, Mandailing Natal and Padang Lawas regencies and a small section of the west coast,” said James.

North Sumatra Environmental Office head Wan Hidayati said the extreme heat taking place over the past several days in the province was due to the impact of global warming.

She explained the source of global warming was unclear, but theoretically global warming was caused by greenhouse effects.

Hidayati said activities such as transportation and forest fires were emitting carbon dioxide, and these were extensive in North Sumatra, while the forest in North Sumatra lacked the equilibrium to anticipate carbon dioxide.

“This is one of the causes of the heat. However, we cannot yet predict the cause of global warming exactly,” Hidayati told the Post.

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