Haze in Singapore – source attribution of biomass burning PM 10 from Southeast Asia

Hansen, Ayoe Buus; Witham, Claire Suzanne; Chong, Wei Ming; Kendall, Emma; Chew, Boon Ning; Gan, Christopher; Hort, Matthew Craig; Lee, Shao-Yi

This paper presents a study of haze in Singapore caused by biomass burning in Southeast Asia over the 6-year period from 2010 to 2015, using the Numerical Atmospheric-dispersion Modelling Environment (NAME), which is a Lagrangian dispersion model. The major contributing source regions to the haze are identified using forwards and backwards model simulations of particulate matter.

The coincidence of relatively strong southeast monsoonal winds with increased biomass burning activities in the Maritime Continent create the main Singapore haze season from August to October (ASO), which brings particulate matter from varying source regions to Singapore. Five regions are identified as the dominating sources of pollution during recent haze seasons: Riau, Peninsular Malaysia, South Sumatra, and Central and West Kalimantan. In contrast, off-season haze episodes in Singapore are characterised by unusual weather conditions, ideal for biomass burning, and contributions dominated by a single source region (different for each event). The two most recent off-season haze events in mid-2013 and early 2014 have different source regions, which differ from the major contributing source regions for the haze season. These results challenge the current popular assumption that haze in Singapore is dominated by emissions/burning from only Indonesia. For example, it is shown that Peninsular Malaysia is a large source for the Maritime Continent off-season biomass burning impact on Singapore.

The results demonstrate that haze in Singapore varies across year, season, and location and is influenced by local and regional weather, climate, and regional burning. Differences in haze concentrations and variation in the relative contributions from the various source regions are seen between monitoring stations across Singapore, on a seasonal as well as on an inter-annual timescale. This study shows that even across small scales, such as in Singapore, variation in local meteorology can impact concentrations of particulate matter significantly, and it emphasises the importance of the scale of modelling both spatially and temporally.



Hansen, Ayoe Buus / Witham, Claire Suzanne / Chong, Wei Ming / et al: Haze in Singapore – source attribution of biomass burning PM10 from Southeast Asia. 2019. Copernicus Publications.


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