Heavy Smoke Blankets Borneo

borneo_amo_2015292

borneodetail_amo_2015292

Heavy smoke continued to pour from peat fires in Borneo, Indonesia, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image on October 19, 2015. Red outlines indicate hot spots where the sensor detected unusually warm surface temperatures associated with fires. Gray smoke hovers over the island and has triggered air quality alerts and health warnings in Indonesia and neighboring countries. Small cumulus clouds are visible along Borneo’s southern coast. The lower image shows a more detailed view of some of the fires.

Fires are a common occurrence in Borneo in September and October because farmers engage in “slash and burn agriculture,” a technique that involves frequent burning of rainforest to clear the way for crops or grazing animals. In southern Borneo, the intent is often to make room for new plantings of oil palm and acacia pulp.

Many of the fires are burning in areas with soils underlain with peat—a soil-like mixture of partly decayed plant material formed in wetlands. Peat fires tend to be difficult to extinguish, often smoldering under the surface for months.

In comparison to other types of fires, peat fires release unusually large amounts of certain pollutants. For instance, peat fires release three times as much carbon monoxide and ten times as much methane as savanna fires, according to emission factors used by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam scientist Guido van der Werf to quantify the amount of pollution released by the fires. According to Van der Werf, the fires in Indonesia have emitted an estimated 1.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalents so far this year. That is more than the average annual emissions of Germany.

MODIS sensors on the Terra and Aqua satellites have detected fires burning in southern Sumatra since early September. Scientists monitoring the fires expect the fires to continue burning until the monsoon rains arrive at the end of October. However, they caution that the dry season could be unusually long in Indonesia this year because of the strong El Niño present in the Pacific Ocean.

About Tara Buakamsri

ordinary people

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

WORLD ORGANIC NEWS

News & Advocacy

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences

Pimthika 'S BLOG

The Right Way To Walk For Coffee Lover

A-FAB

ASEAN for a Fair, Ambitious and Binding Global Climate Deal

TARAGRAPHIES

A view from within in a hyperconnected world

Burma Concern

A Creative Platform for Understanding Burma

AOr NOpawan

Let's the flowers bloom in your heart!!

Matt on Not-WordPress

Stuff and things.

%d bloggers like this: