KUCHING: Southern Sarawak’s air pollutant index (API) readings have been gradually inching up all weekend, with Samarahan near here hitting 82 by noon yesterday.
In Kuching, the API was 77 while the visibility was 4km, with noticeably more haze compared with mid-week when there were blue skies.
Over in Sri Aman, about 160km from here, the API was 53; Sibu had a reading of 44 and Miri, 57.
On Saturday on Borneo, the NOAA-18 satellite detected a total of 97 hotspots, whereas the Aqua satellite, which has a finer resolution, picked up 253 hotspots.
“Moderate to dense haze continued to persist in Kalimantan, as well as in central and southern Sumatra,” reported the Singapore-based Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre.
“Some haze was also observed in the Strait of Malacca and the sea areas west of Kalimantan. Hotspots in Sumatra could not be fully determined due to partial satellite pass,” it added.
The return of hazy skies in southern Sarawak was attributed to a change of wind direction, bringing air back from Kalimantan.
When there were blue skies last week, the wind was from the north, coming in from the South China Sea.
Wind forecast based on model data from the Japan Meteorological Agency shows a change of direction for the better could happen starting today.
Looking ahead, the Malaysian Meteorological Department (Met) is forecasting isolated rain and thunderstorms over coastal areas in Sarawak today and tomorrow.
The Met is also forecasting thunderstorms every afternoon until Saturday.