Use and Interpretation of Data for Fire and Haze Monitoring for the Mekong sub-region and Attachment Programme (13-16 January 2020)

As part of the ASMC 5-year Regional Capability Building Programme for ASEAN Member States, ASMC conducts regular training workshops in the area of land/forest fires and smoke haze monitoring and assessment using data from satellites. This year, the training workshop was held on 13 – 16 January 2020 together with a short attachment stint at ASMC for the Mekong sub-region comprising Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Five participants from the environment, forestry and pollution control sectors joined this year’s programme.

Workshop participants with meteorologists from the ASMC Forecast Office (left). Participants were briefed on the process of assessing the weather and haze situation in the Mekong sub-region (right).

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.

Hands-on exercises for participants to practise their skills in analysing weather and satellite data to produce an outlook of the haze situation in the Mekong sub-region (left). Participants visited Meteorological Service Singapore’s Centre for Climate Research where they learnt how subseasonal and seasonal forecasts can augment haze monitoring and assessment efforts (right).

Ms Phayvone Sengphone, Research Officer from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), Lao PDR, felt that the lectures and activities conducted during the workshop were interesting and applicable to her work. She found the attachment stint useful in providing insights into ASMC’s operations.

Besides such training workshops focusing on monitoring and assessment of regional fires and smoke haze, three other workshops on the themes of Numerical Weather Prediction, Seasonal to Sub-seasonal Prediction, and ASEAN Climate Data, Analysis and Projections (ARCDAP) are also in the pipeline for this year.