Blue skies predicted

Northern Thailand forum
Post Reply
User avatar
BKKSTAN
udonmap.com
Posts: 8886
Joined: July 18, 2005, 12:55 pm
Location: Nong Khai

Blue skies predicted

Post by BKKSTAN » March 18, 2007, 5:33 am

Weather to blow North haze away today

Northern residents tortured by the weeks-long smog will breathe a sigh of clean relief today if a storm forecast is reliable. If so, the climate crisis will be immediately swept away, leaving its "real" causes uncertain and no predictions for its reoccurrence.

"Seasonal cyclones will begin today in the northern area and last for five days until March 22," the Meteorological Department's Northern Office said yesterday.

"It is the result of the approaching cold air mass from China, expecting to cause tropical storms, thunder showers, gusty winds and hail and rain in around 10 per cent of the northern area before moving south to hit the rest of Thailand," it said.

If the prediction is true, it should bring an end to the smog covering the eight northern provinces, said Anond Snidvongse of the Southeast Asia START Global Change Regional Centre.

"Only rain, the seasonal cyclones, can really help solve this climate crisis. Other measures attempted by authorities in the past two weeks could help very little," Anond told The Nation.

Smoke has blanketed Chiang Mai and seven other provinces for weeks. In Chiang Mai, it's been 17 days to yesterday, marking the worst and longest smog crisis in the area's history.

The seven other provinces are Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Lampang, Lamphun, Phrae, Nan and Phayao.

Due to climate fluctuations, the atmospheric layer over the northern provinces trapped pollutants released into the air and caused them to circulate up to two kilometres from earth longer than the usual one or two days, the Pollution Control Department said.

The Public Health Ministry recently estimated that the smog had afflicted health problems on some 100,000 residents in the eight provinces. Dust particles of less than 10 micrograms (PM10) were blamed as the major irritant.

On Wednesday - the worst day - pollution control officers detected PM10 in Chiang Mai at up to 383 micrograms per cubic metre, triple its safety standard of only 120.

While most authorities believe open burning by farmers and wildfires were the major culprits of the smog disaster, some scientists suspect transportation aggravated the problem in urban areas.

"We should not overlook pollutants created by vehicles, especially diesel ones," said Jariya Boonjawat, a Chulalongkorn biochemist who is also working at the START Centre.

Amid the general outcry, complaints about respiratory problems were more likely to be heard from city people rather than rural folks. And that is why Jariya focused on the transportation factor.

"I just got back from Luang Prabang yesterday. A cloud of smoke was seen there like in northern Thailand but with less health impacts on the residents," she said.

"Called urban burning aerosol, the PM10 released from engine combustion will float in the air and form droplets with other aerosols to cause poor visibility. Sunlight will accelerate the chemical reaction

"Worse, if the air contains molecules of certain kinds of protein and virus, the droplets could trigger polycyclic aromatic carbons which could cause cancer."

Smoke from urban areas could cause more harm than smog, she said.

But authorities tackling the smog crisis in the North believe the big sources for this year's crisis were forest and field fires and put all of their efforts into stopping the burning.

Among the measures were producing artificial rain, spraying water from aeroplanes on the streets of Chiang Mai, launching a campaign to stop wildfires and agricultural open burning, and providing free masks to residents.

Nothing was done to cut down on the release of urban burning aerosol.

"We do recognise the vehicle source but now the agricultural source is more important," said Aphiwat Khunarak, a Chiang Mai environment official.

However, all the attempts of authorities seemed futile. Rainmaking sorties over the past two weeks produced no rain. The stop open burning campaign could stop only some farmers. The 300,00 masks provided were too few for tens of millions of residents and those needing them the most - urban dwellers - said they did not receive any.

The Chiang Mai mayor even popped up with the incredible idea of starting the Songkran Festival two weeks early in the hope that water splashing could help solve the haze problem.

"I hope he didn't really mean it. Misunderstanding the source of the problem could lead to a misleading solution," said Anond, the climate expert.

He couldn't say for sure if wildfires were the major cause of the smog as the number of wildfires did not differ that much from previous years.

"It's true that this year wildfires were more prevalent than last year but it was less than the two previous years [2004-2005]," an official from the Chiang Mai Wildfire Control Office said.

Anond was also not sure how much the campaign against open burning by farmers could relieve the air pollution. But he agreed it was an urgent measure that needed to be implemented first.

"How about the long-term solution for such a crisis?" he asked. "The main cause is the climate fluctuation. Due to the closed atmosphere, the pollution could harm people a lot," he said.

The smog crisis is another result of climate change. Global climate change plays a significant role in causing the smog crisis in the North, he said.

To fight such a climate-related problem, monitoring of both the atmosphere and pollution are needed as the first step. Then, the right information would lead to the right solution, he said.

A scientist at Chiang Mai University said the authorities' measures were conducted with limited information. "Such as the density of pollution released into the air, it was based on only two stations in town [in Chiang Mai's case]. How can we ensure it [the readings] would represent whole provinces? But we did declare a ban for whole provinces and the region," said the scientist, who declined to be named.

Kamol Sukin

The Nation

Chiang Mai



Handsome Man
udonmap.com
Posts: 17
Joined: October 10, 2007, 5:27 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Post by Handsome Man » December 8, 2007, 12:55 am

Testing, testing, one two three #-o

Handsome Man
udonmap.com
Posts: 17
Joined: October 10, 2007, 5:27 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Blue skies predicted

Post by Handsome Man » December 8, 2007, 12:59 am

BKKSTAN wrote:
Northern residents tortured by the weeks-long smog will breathe a sigh of clean relief today if a storm forecast is reliable. If so, the climate crisis will be immediately swept away, leaving its "real" causes uncertain and no predictions for its reoccurrence.
Testing, testing, one two three :roll:

Post Reply

Return to “Northern Thailand”