Workshop on the Use and Interpretation of Data for Fire and Haze Monitoring for the Mekong Sub-region
As the dry season of the Mekong sub-region approached, the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centres (ASMC) conducted another round of the Workshop on the “Use and Interpretation of Data for Fire and Haze Monitoring” for the Mekong sub-region on 4 – 6 December 2018 in Singapore to aid preparatory efforts. The workshop brought together experts from the different sectors, such as forestry, environment, pollution control, meteorology and research – all of them part of the larger community working together to address the transboundary haze pollution issue affecting the region. Each participant brought with them invaluable experiences from their work to share with others.
During the Workshop, participants were introduced to a range of products and information services availed by the ASMC for applications in the monitoring and assessment of land / forest fires and haze, as well as the scientific concepts and theories enabling such applications. These products include satellite imageries, hotspot and haze information derived from satellite data, and numerical model outputs. The Workshop also covered the interpretation of ASMC’s sub-seasonal and seasonal prediction products, and how such information could be applied in the planning. Participants were also introduced to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Information System portal (WIS portal), an online data catalogue of ASMC’s products that facilitates convenient access and further downstream processing. The ASMC WIS Portal enables functions such automatic updates disseminated via email and/or File Transfer Protocol (FTP), depending on users’ preference.
Much of the Workshop focused on interactive and practical exercises to equip the participants with the skills to interpret the products and derive information that could be applied in ground operations. In addition to the lectures and exercises, participants were taken out of the classroom for technical visits to an Air Quality Monitoring station and the Central Forecast Office of the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS). Mr Somdet Champee from the Royal Forestry Department of Thailand felt that the workshop was useful for operational staff and policy-makers alike, and commended the organisers for including relevant topics that met the learning objectives of participants.
Training is a continuous process. As the regional centre for monitoring, assessing and providing early warning for transboundary haze, ASMC will continue to deliver capability building programmes focusing on remote sensing technologies and their applications in environmental monitoring. The aim remains to enable the community to take advantage of the advances afforded by the latest technologies through sharing of expertise and knowledge transfer.