Indonesia hot spots down as water-bombing sorties continue

 
01 August 2017

published by http://www.straitstimes.com


Indonesia - The number of hot spots picked up across Indonesia by satellites fell slightly to 214 yesterday, said the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB).

This came after forest fires, most of which were located in the western regions of Aceh and Kalimantan, led to 239 hot spots the day before, said to be the highest this year.

While the haze from fires in West Aceh - which had forced some schools in its capital Meulaboh to close - had largely abated, more hot spots were detected overnight in West Kalimantan and Riau, now the two worst-hit provinces.

Figures The Straits Times received from BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho yesterday showed 59 hot spots in Riau and 46 in West Kalimantan.

Dr Sutopo had attributed the rise in the number of hot spots to the seasonal dry spell, which is forecast to last until September.

Forest and peatland fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan, that led to the transboundary haze, have been kept at bay since 2015.


The haze caused record air pollution levels in the region for months that year, pushing Indonesia to the verge of a national emergency.

Since then, the central government has been working with the local authorities and plantation companies to ramp up efforts to prevent and fight fires.

But as the dry season kicked in, all eyes were once again on Indonesia following reports that smoke from fires caused dozens of people, including children, in Meulaboh to suffer lung infections from the haze.

Aceh police chief Teguh Priyambodo Nugroho said yesterday that 14 people have been called in for questioning in connection with the forest fires in the regency.

He told Kompas News that these include both land owners and workers who were present at the time of the fires, but they remain witnesses until the police have evidence to prove otherwise.

The schools in Meulaboh reopened yesterday morning as conditions improved throughout most of the country, with air pollution between "good" and "moderate" levels, according to Indonesia's Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysical Agency.

Meanwhile, aerial firefighters in Riau have dropped more than 21 billion litres of water over fires raging across the Indonesian province in Sumatra since January, as efforts to prevent a repeat of the haze crisis continue across the country.

The amount, delivered by helicopters over 549ha of land affected by fires in the province thus far, is enough to fill more than 8,800 Olympic-size swimming pools, or supply Singapore's total water demand for 11 days.

Similar water-bombing missions were also flown in recent days over West Kalimantan, where the highest number of hot spots had been recorded since last Thursday.

Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said yesterday that these air sorties are focused on fires in areas where there is limited road access. "If land access is difficult or shut down for a long time, then we will use water- bombings," she added.

Neighbours Malaysia and Singapore, which were also badly affected by the haze in 2015, have reiterated their offers to assist Indonesia in its firefighting efforts.

Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman also reaffirmed Singapore's commitment to work with Indonesia to tackle the haze issue, during his visit to Pekanbaru and Jambi last week.

An international team of climate researchers from the US, South Korea and the UK has developed a new wildfire and drought prediction model for southwestern North America. Extending far beyond the current seasonal forecast, this study published in the journal Scientific Reports could benefit the economies with a variety of applications in agriculture, water management and forestry.

Over the past 15 years, California and neighboring regions have experienced heightened conditions and an increase in numbers with considerable impacts on human livelihoods, agriculture, and terrestrial ecosystems. This new research shows that in addition to a discernible contribution from natural forcings and human-induced global warming, the large-scale difference between Atlantic and Pacific ocean temperatures plays a fundamental role in causing droughts, and enhancing wildfire risks.

"Our results document that a combination of processes is at work. Through an ensemble modeling approach, we were able to show that without anthropogenic effects, the droughts in the southwestern United States would have been less severe," says co-author Axel Timmermann, Director of the newly founded IBS Center for Climate Physics, within the Institute for Basics Science (IBS), and Distinguished Professor at Pusan National University in South Korea. "By prescribing the effects of man-made climate change and observed global ocean temperatures, our model can reproduce the observed shifts in weather patterns and wildfire occurrences."



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-07-atlanticpacific-ocean-temperature-difference-fuels.html#jCp
An international team of climate researchers from the US, South Korea and the UK has developed a new wildfire and drought prediction model for southwestern North America. Extending far beyond the current seasonal forecast, this study published in the journal Scientific Reports could benefit the economies with a variety of applications in agriculture, water management and forestry.
 

Over the past 15 years, California and neighboring regions have experienced heightened conditions and an increase in numbers with considerable impacts on human livelihoods, agriculture, and terrestrial ecosystems. This new research shows that in addition to a discernible contribution from natural forcings and human-induced global warming, the large-scale difference between Atlantic and Pacific ocean temperatures plays a fundamental role in causing droughts, and enhancing wildfire risks.

"Our results document that a combination of processes is at work. Through an ensemble modeling approach, we were able to show that without anthropogenic effects, the droughts in the southwestern United States would have been less severe," says co-author Axel Timmermann, Director of the newly founded IBS Center for Climate Physics, within the Institute for Basics Science (IBS), and Distinguished Professor at Pusan National University in South Korea. "By prescribing the effects of man-made climate change and observed global ocean temperatures, our model can reproduce the observed shifts in weather patterns and wildfire occurrences."



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-07-atlanticpacific-ocean-temperature-difference-fuels.html#jCp