What’s that smell in the air, Singapore?

·Nurul Azliah Aripin
What’s that smell in the air, Singapore?

No, your nose isn’t playing tricks on you.

If you or you friends have smelt a slight “burning” smell in some parts of Singapore recently, it may be down to minor vegetation fires that have occurred as a result of recent dry weather conditions, said the National Environment Agency on Monday.

And the vegetation fires were caused by a prolonged lack of rainfall, which have caused 17 reservoirs on the island to partially dry up.

In the first three weeks of February, the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) reported that about half of the island’s 64 rainfall stations had recorded rainfall totals below 10.0mm. This is well below the long-term average.

“There were localised showers, mainly in the western areas, on seven days this month [February]. Jurong Island received the highest rainfall total of 87.8 mm. However many parts of Singapore remain dry, particularly in the south and east,” said NEA.

“At the Changi climate station, the daily relative humidity is significantly below the long-term average due to the prolonged lack of rainfall, while the average wind speed is the highest for February in over 25 years,” said NEA.

The dry phase of the seasonal Northeast Monsoon also saw Singapore hit by a 27-day long dry spell between 13 January and 8 February, beating its previous 18-day record set in 2008.
NEA predicts the dry weather to persist through the first half of March, before Inter-Monsoon sets in during the latter part of March when rainfall is expected to increase.

Occasional slight haze may also hover over the city-state in the next few days, particularly in the morning, due to 18 hotspots in Indonesia’s Riau province.

While prevailing northeasterly winds will help to keep the smoke away, the slight haze is likely to reach Singapore due to the “accumulation of particulate matter under stable atmospheric conditions”.

NEA expects fair and warm conditions over the next few days as well. They will continue to monitor the situation.

PSI readings for the past couple of weeks have ranged between 20 and 39, which is well within the “Good” category.
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