Environmental News Archive

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Hazy sky for Singapore as hotspots detected

By Sheralyn Tay, TODAY
25 February 2008

SINGAPORE: Don't rub your eyes, it's not your vision blurring. It's just the haze which returned this weekend.

On Sunday, Singapore experienced its haziest day this year, with the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reading hitting a peak of 56 at 4pm. This is the highest reading since December last year.

Sunday was also the third consecutive day that the 24-PSI reading has crept past the good range into the moderate range of 50-100. On Saturday, the 24-hour PSI reading hit 52, up from 51 on Friday.

According to the National Environment Agency's (NEA) hot spot map, there are "numerous" hotspots over Thailand and Laos. Hot spots indicate areas with fires or hot smoke and are detected by infrared images captured by weather satellites.

While isolated hotspots have been detected over Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, western Borneo and parts of Sumatra, it was Riau in Sumatra that had been enveloped in thick smoke over the weekend as land-clearing fires created a choking haze that reduced visibility in some parts to 20 metres.

But the number of hot spots in Riau appears to be dropping, as Sunday's hot spot count was four, compared to 100 on Thursday and 50 on Friday.

According to NEA, the moderate haze is due, in part, to drier conditions. So far prevailing winds have kept most of the smoke away from Singapore, although changes in wind direction could account for hazier days ahead. - TODAY/sh