A tsunami hit Java in Indonesia on 17 July. (See article).
I am on leave so I wasn't in the office that day, but I knew there had been a large earthquake because my mobile phone received at least 20 SMSes, including 2 tsunami alerts. (D is involved in running our seismic system, & since he doesn't have a mobile phone he uses mine to test the system).
Since the 26 Dec 2004 tsunami, attempts are being made to set up a warning system for our region. Singapore itself isn't in an earthquake zone, but we are part of the warning network because we have several seismic sensors set up around the island.
D called from the office the following day, so I asked if there was a lot of concern about the tsunami, but he said no, now it's haze that they're worried about ... visibility in Penang & Sitiawan had fallen to 2km.
The Southwest monsoon is dry season for Indonesia because the ITCZ lies far to the north. Indonesia consists of huge tracts of rainforest, & a lot of illegal burning is carried out to clear the jungle for farming/logging. Smoke from the fires often drifts over to neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore, enveloping them in choking haze. Sometimes visibility is only a few hundred metres & one can't really see the sun.
Because of that, our office is always monitoring the rainfall in the region as well as satellite pictures for signs of forest fires in Indonesia.
A recent satellite picture :
Wheeee ... look at all that smoke. Some of those smoke patches look bigger than Singapore. Right now winds are blowing it to the northwest, but once the winds change to southwesterlies, all that smoke is going to drift over to Singapore. There's very little that we can do about it; it's up to the Indonesian govt to crack down on the big plantation owners who are responsible for most of the burning.
On another note, while surfing the net, I found this silly spoof at this site. It just cracked me up.
HAZE IN THE WIND
(Sing to the tune of CANDLE IN THE WIND by Elton John)
BY THE ASTHMATICS
Goodbye clear blue sky
Though we never see you anymore
We hope you've not forgotten
to come back to Singapore*
The fires won't stop burning
And no matter how hard we try
It seems we're edging closer
towards one thousand PSI
And it seems to me you lived your life
like a candle in the wind
Never staying a moment longer
when the haze set in
And your memory will always haunt us
when the CD sirens wail
Your candles burned out long before
our lungs completely fail ....
* Choose your country
Mood : Tickled