There Might be a Haze in Singapore This Week Due to Hot Spots in Sumatra


Advertisements
 

Does anyone remember the ominous term “haze”?

In 2015, the haze was so severe that schools had to be closed. However, after experiencing COVID-19, the haze might seem trivial in comparison.

Still, it’s an issue to be vigilant about. There’s a possibility of the haze returning this week, but it’s unlikely that schools will close again.

The skies may become slightly smokier this week, and no, it’s not because we’re in the seventh month. On Sunday, the National Environment Agency (NEA) took on the role of a weather forecaster, hinting at potential hazy conditions due to conditions in our neighboring Sumatra.

Sumatra’s Fiery Scenario, Leading to a Possible Singapore Haze

In recent days, Sumatra has been a hot topic, and not just figuratively. With increased activity at various hotspots, some of which are emitting smoke reminiscent of a dragon with a cold, the island seems to be living up to its fiery image.

The ongoing dry weather, particularly in the southern and central regions of this Indonesian island, is exacerbating these fires.

You might wonder, “Why is Singapore concerned about Sumatra’s weather?”

If you’re asking that, you might be unfamiliar with the regional dynamics.

There’s a saying: “When Sumatra sneezes, Singapore might just get a touch of haze.

The dry conditions in Sumatra could intensify the hotspot and haze situation, potentially blanketing our Lion City in a smoky haze.

Hazy Calculations and Wind Patterns

Last Saturday, while people celebrated Tharman’s victory, the NEA identified 28 hotspots.


Advertisements
 

By Sunday, this number had decreased to 23, with most of these hotspots located in southern Sumatra.

The NEA stated, “This could exacerbate the hotspot and smoke haze situation there, posing a risk of hazy conditions in Singapore.”

Image: The Len / Shutterstock.com

However, before you scramble for your N95 masks, there’s some reassuring news.

The NEA noted, “The smoke plumes are currently quite distant from Singapore and are not drifting directly towards us due to the prevailing south-eastern winds.”

Thanks to the Japanese weather satellite Himawari 9, satellite images show the smoke plumes from these Sumatran hotspots.

They are being directed northwest, away from Singapore.

So, even though Singaporeans are known for their “kiasu” (fear of missing out) attitude, it seems the winds favor us this time, ensuring we don’t miss out on clear skies!

Monitoring the Atmosphere for Haze

As of 7am on Monday (4 September 2023), the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index registered is 52, with the east region registering the highest index, at 71.

For those unfamiliar, this range is considered good to moderate. It will only hit the “unhealthy” range when it is above 101.


Advertisements
 

So, while we might encounter some haze, it’s not at the “stay indoors and binge-watch your favorite drama” intensity.

At least, not yet.