Singapore likely to experience haze in the next few weeks amid Sumatra fires, dry weather: NEA

Cable cars ply across the Resort World Sentosa island while the skyline blanketed with haze in Singapore on August 26, 2016. – Smog and a strong acrid smell blanketed Singapore on August 26 as smoke from forest fires in Indonesia blew into the city-state, sending the air quality index to unhealthy levels. (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP)
Cable cars ply across the Resort World Sentosa island while the skyline blanketed with haze in Singapore on August 26, 2016. – Smog and a strong acrid smell blanketed Singapore on August 26 as smoke from forest fires in Indonesia blew into the city-state, sending the air quality index to unhealthy levels. (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP)

Time to dig out those N95 masks.

Haze is expected to return to Singapore for the next few weeks to months amid persistent fires in Indonesia and drier weather in the region, the country’s meteorological service said today.

Smoke plumes have been spotted rising from hotspots in Sumatra’s Riau and Jambi provinces and southern parts of Kalimantan according to a statement from the National Environment Agency (NEA).

Drier-than-normal weather conditions in Singapore and the surrounding region in the coming weeks, meanwhile, could increase the likelihood of transboundary haze, it added.

Thanks to the Indian Ocean Dipole, or Indian Niño — a key climate driver influencing rainfall over Singapore — cooler sea surface temperatures are resulting in below normal rainfall in the region, the weather agency said.

This leads to drier weather in areas next to the Indian Ocean, including Sumatra, Malaysia and Singapore.

Major climate centers are already expecting the Indian Niño to persist over the coming months, NEA added.

Other than the dry weather, the effect of haze in Singapore is also dependent on the proximity and extent of the fires as well as the direction and strength of prevailing winds.

Singapore has been experiencing unseasonably dry and warm weather in recent weeks, the weather agency said.

In July, total rainfall recorded at the climate station in Changi was 92 percent below average, the driest since 1997, according to NEA.

Related stories:
‘Very unhealthy’ haze levels hit Singapore

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