Severe haze unlikely to happen soon, says MetMalaysia


MetMalaysia said the monsoon transition phase now will also see the country getting more rainfall, displacing any haze.

KUALA LUMPUR: The meteorological department (MetMalaysia) says it does not anticipate severe haze in the country anytime soon.

This comes despite the detection of several hotspots in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Bernama reported MetMalaysia director-general Helmi Abdullah as saying that this was based on data from the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre, which showed a decrease in the number of hotspots in Kalimantan and Sumatra in Indonesia from Monday.

“On Sept 11, a total of 67 hotspots were detected in Kalimantan and 50 in Sumatra. Yesterday, the number had gone down to two in Kalimantan and 15 in Sumatra,” he said.

Only one hotspot was recorded in Peninsular Malaysia on Monday, but the situation changed yesterday when Sabah and Sarawak reported a total of four hotspots.

“However, with the conclusion of the southwest monsoon and the reduction of hotspots in Kalimantan and Sumatra, MetMalaysia does not anticipate a severe haze episode in the near future,” he said.

Helmi said the southwest monsoon season ends today, to be replaced by the monsoon transition phase expected to last until early November.

The country is expected to receive more rainfall, especially in the late afternoon and early evening, particularly in states along the west coast of the peninsula, western Sarawak, and Sabah.

The country will also experience more rainfall during the northeast monsoon, which is expected to last from November until next March.

“However, transboundary haze can occur if there are extensive and widespread forest fires and wind blowing from the affected areas.

“Moreover, El Nino conditions are detected in the central Pacific Ocean, and there is over a 95% chance that it will persist until early 2024.

“According to forecasts from international agencies, its strength is expected to reach its height at the end of this year and the beginning of next year.

“This could lead to prolonged dry weather, reduced rainfall and forest fires if open burning activities are not controlled,” he said.

Based on data from the Air Pollutant Index Management System managed by the department of environment, a total of 46 monitoring stations recorded moderate air pollutant index (API) readings, with the highest reading in Kuching at 92, followed by Shah Alam at 76 and Seremban at 75.

API readings from 0-50 are categorised as good, 51-100 as moderate, 101-200 as unhealthy, 201-300 as very unhealthy, and 300 and above as hazardous.

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