Indonesian fire activity and smoke pollution in 2015 show persistent nonlinear sensitivity to El Niño-induced drought

AMS Citation:
Field, R. D., and Coauthors, 2016: Indonesian fire activity and smoke pollution in 2015 show persistent nonlinear sensitivity to El Niño-induced drought. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113, 9204-9209, doi:10.1073/pnas.1524888113.
Date:2016-08-16
Resource Type:article
Title:Indonesian fire activity and smoke pollution in 2015 show persistent nonlinear sensitivity to El Niño-induced drought
Abstract: The 2015 fire season and related smoke pollution in Indonesia was more severe than the major 2006 episode, making it the most severe season observed by the NASA Earth Observing System satellites that go back to the early 2000s, namely active fire detections from the Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometers (MODIS), MODIS aerosol optical depth, Terra Measurement of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) carbon monoxide (CO), Aqua Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) CO, Aura Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) aerosol index, and Aura Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) CO. The MLS CO in the upper troposphere showed a plume of pollution stretching from East Africa to the western Pacific Ocean that persisted for 2 mo. Longer-term records of airport visibility in Sumatra and Kalimantan show that 2015 ranked after 1997 and alongside 1991 and 1994 as among the worst episodes on record. Analysis of yearly dry season rainfall from the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) and rain gauges shows that, due to the continued use of fire to clear and prepare land on degraded peat, the Indonesian fire environment continues to have nonlinear sensitivity to dry conditions during prolonged periods with less than 4 mm/d of precipitation, and this sensitivity appears to have increased over Kalimantan. Without significant reforms in land use and the adoption of early warning triggers tied to precipitation forecasts, these intense fire episodes will reoccur during future droughts, usually associated with El Niño events.
Peer Review:Refereed
Copyright Information:Copyright 2016 Author(s). Published under license by the National Academy of Sciences.
OpenSky citable URL: ark:/85065/d7hx1f9w
Publisher's Version: 10.1073/pnas.1524888113
Author(s):
  • Robert Field
  • Guido van der Werf
  • Thierry Fanin
  • Eric Fetzer
  • Ryan Fuller
  • Hiren Jethva
  • Robert Levy
  • Nathaniel Livesey
  • Ming Luo
  • Omar Torres
  • Helen Worden - NCAR/UCAR
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