Investigating the haze transport from 1997 biomass burning in Southeast Asia: Its impact upon Singapore

Lawrence C.C. Koe, Avelino F. Arellano, John L. McGregor

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109 Scopus citations


The 1997 Indonesia forest fires was an environmental disaster of exceptional proportions. Such a disaster caused massive transboundary air pollution and indiscriminate destruction of biodiversity in the world. The immediate consequence of the fires was the production of large amounts of haze in the region, causing visibility and health problems within Southeast Asia. Furthermore, fires of these magnitudes are potential contributors to global warming and climate change due to the emission of large amounts of greenhouse gases and other pyrogenic products.The long-range transport of fire-related haze in the region is investigated using trajectories from the CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research Limited Area Model (DARLAM). Emission scenarios were constructed for hotspot areas in Sumatra and Kalimantan for the months of September and October 1997 to determine the period and fire locations most critical to Singapore. This study also examines some transport issues raised from field observations. Results show that fires in the coastal areas of southeast Sumatra and southwest Kalimantan can be potential contributors to transboundary air pollution in Singapore. Singapore was directly affected by haze from these areas whereas Kuala Lumpur was heavily affected by the haze coming from Sumatra. In most cases, Singapore was more affected by fires from Kalimantan than was Kuala Lumpur. This was mainly a result of the shifting of monsoons. The transition of monsoons resulted in weaker low-level winds and shifted convergence zones near to the southeast of Peninsular Malaysia. In addition to severe drought and massive fire activity in 1997, the timing of the monsoon transition has a strong influence on haze transport in the region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2723-2734
Number of pages12
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2001


  • Atmospheric transport
  • Modeling
  • Monsoon
  • Particulate matter
  • Southeast Asia biomass burning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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