Singapore, 2 March 2023 – The ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) has raised the Alert Level for early warning of transboundary smoke haze in the Mekong sub-region1 to the highest level (Alert Level 3) on 2 March 2023. With persistent dry weather conditions expected, there may be a worsening in transboundary smoke haze situation in the coming weeks.

2 Hotspot and smoke haze activities in the Mekong sub-region have escalated since the start of the northern ASEAN dry season in December 2022. Based on NOAA-202 satellite surveillance, a total of 1180 and 1636 hotspots were detected in the Mekong sub-region on 28 February 2023 and 1 March 2023 respectively. Widespread moderate to dense smoke haze was observed over northern Lao PDR, northern and central parts of Thailand, as well as central and southern parts of Myanmar in the past few days. Many air quality stations in the central and northern Mekong sub-region also reported air quality at the unhealthy to very unhealthy levels.

3 The prevailing low-level winds in the Mekong sub-region are forecast to continue blowing from the northeast in the coming days, which will contribute to a high risk of transboundary haze occurrence. Existing La Niña3 conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean are likely to weaken to neutral in March or April 2023. Although near-to-above normal rainfall is predicted for the Mekong sub-region in the coming months, prolonged dry periods are still expected, and the hotspot and smoke haze situation is likely to stay elevated till the end of the traditional dry season in May 2023.

4 For regular and ad-hoc updates of the regional weather and smoke haze situation and early warnings, please visit the ASMC website at

[1] The Mekong sub-region comprises of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
[2] The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-20 (NOAA-20) satellite monitors global environmental conditions and collects and disseminates data related to weather, land and oceans.
[3] La Niña conditions tend to bring wetter conditions to most parts of the ASEAN region.

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