Major atmospheric emissions from peat fires in Southeast Asia during non-drought years: evidence from the 2013 Sumatran fires

Gaveau, David L.A., Salim, Mohammad A., Hergoualc'h, Kristell, Locatelli, Bruno, Sloan, Sean, Wooster, Martin, Marlier, Miriam E., Molidena, Elis, Yaen, Husna, DeFries, Ruth, Verchot, Louise, Murdiyarso, Daniel, Nasi, Robert, Holmgrem, Peter, and Sheil, Douglas (2014) Major atmospheric emissions from peat fires in Southeast Asia during non-drought years: evidence from the 2013 Sumatran fires. Scientific Reports, 4. pp. 1-7.

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Abstract

Trans-boundary haze events in Southeast Asia are associated with large forest and peatland fires in Indonesia. These episodes of extreme air pollution usually occur during drought years induced by climate anomalies from the Pacific (El Niño Southern Oscillation) and Indian Oceans (Indian Ocean Dipole). However, in June 2013--a non-drought year--Singapore's 24-hr Pollutants Standards Index reached an all-time record 246 (rated "very unhealthy"). Here, we show using remote sensing, rainfall records and other data, that the Indonesian fires behind the 2013 haze followed a two-month dry spell in a wetter-than-average year. These fires were short-lived (one week) and limited to a localized area in Central Sumatra (1.6% of Indonesia): burning an estimated 163,336 ha, including 137,044 ha (84%) on peat. Most burning was confined to deforested lands (82%; 133,216 ha). The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during this brief, localized event were considerable: 172 ± 59 Tg CO2-eq (or 31 ± 12 Tg C), representing 5-10% of Indonesia's mean annual GHG emissions for 2000-2005. Our observations show that extreme air pollution episodes in Southeast Asia are no longer restricted to drought years. We expect major haze events to be increasingly frequent because of ongoing deforestation of Indonesian peatlands.

Item ID: 38587
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Additional Information:

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder in order to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Funders: CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, National Centre for Earth Observation (NERC)
Projects and Grants: NERC Grant NE/J010502/1
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2015 03:48
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 60%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961308 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas at Regional or Larger Scales @ 70%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960705 Rural Land Policy @ 30%
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