ASMC Webinar on Fires/Smoke Haze Monitoring and Detection for the Mekong sub-region (12 – 13 January 2021)

ASMC conducted its first Webinar on “Fires/Smoke Haze Monitoring and Detection for the Mekong sub-region” on 12 – 13 January 2021, as part of ASMC’s 5-year Regional Capability Building Programme. The webinar welcomed a total of 15 participants from Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand, and included lectures on the use of satellites for fires and haze monitoring, smoke haze dispersion modelling and seasonal and sub-seasonal predictions. The concepts were reinforced through case studies, and a virtual hands-on session facilitated by ASMC’s trainers. The webinar concluded with a review of the current weather and smoke haze situation and the outlook for the Mekong sub-region. The participants also discussed hotspot detection related issues associated with the transition from the use of NOAA-19 to the NOAA-20 satellite.

Figure 1: Examples of the poster and satellite images (with overlay grids) used during the webinar hands-on session where participants were invited to identify possible areas with smoke haze.

The workshop included lectures for participants to gain foundational understanding of topics such as weather systems in Southeast Asia, sub-seasonal and seasonal predictions, interpretation of satellite imageries, data analysis methodologies, and dispersion modelling as a predictive tool. The lectures were supplemented with hands-on exercises in interpretation of satellite data. The participants also had a short attachment at the ASMC Forecast Office, where they worked with ASMC meteorologists to carry out near real-time assessment of the fire and haze situation in the Mekong sub-region.

Figure 2: A sample of ASMC’s Haze dispersion modelling output of smoke haze in the ASEAN region.

Ms May Yadanar Oo, a webinar participant from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC), Myanmar shared that the topics presented in the webinar were relevant and useful, particularly the lectures on the detection of hotspot and smoke haze using satellites. She hoped that future webinars could continue to include similar topics.

ASMC will be conducting two more workshops in the first half of 2021 as part of ASMC’s 5-year (2018-2022) regional capability building efforts for the ASEAN region, namely the 3rd ASEAN Regional Climate Data, Analysis and Projections (ARCDAP-3) and the 2nd lecture series on Weather Prediction by Numerical Methods (WPNM-M2).

Figure 3: Snapshots of some participants with ASMC trainers at the ASMC Webinar on “Fires/Smoke Haze Monitoring and Detection for Mekong sub-region” held on 12 – 13 January 2021.