The Uncharacteristic Occurrence of the June 2013 Biomass-Burning Haze Event in Southeast Asia: Effects of the Madden-Julian Oscillation and Tropical Cyclone Activity
Journal Article - Open Access
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC WASHINGTON United States
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One of the worst haze events to ever hit Peninsular Malaysia occurred in June 2013 due to smoke from Riau, Central Sumatra. While biomass-burning in the region is common, the early occurrence of a haze episode of this magnitude was uncharacteristic of the seasonality of extreme fire events, which usually occur between August and October in the Maritime Continent MC. This study aims to investigate the phenomenology of the June 2013 haze event and its underlying meteorological forcing agents. The aerosol and meteorological environment during the event is examined using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer MODIS active fire hotspot detections and aerosol optical thickness retrievals, satellite-based precipitation retrievals, and meteorological indices. These datasets are then supported by a WRF-Chem simulation to provide a comprehensive picture of the events meteorology and aerosol transport phenomenology. While extreme fire events are more characteristic of El Nino years, the MODIS fire count over the MC in June for the years 2001-2015 was highest in 2013 when neutral El NinoSouthern Oscillation ENSO conditions prevailed. Although, the mean daily precipitation for June 2013 was below average for June 2003-2015. An early active tropical cyclone TC season occurred in 2013, and results show that the combined induced subsidence and flow enhancement due to TC Bebinca and the dry phases of a strong Madden-Julian Oscillation MJO event contributed to the event intensification. Results also show that Bebinca induced a decrease in surface relative humidity of at least 10 over Riau, where fire hotspots were concentrated.