Mesoscale model simulation of low level equatorial winds over Borneo during the haze episode of September 1997
The large-scale vegetation fires instigated by the local farmers during the dry period of the major El Ni˜no event in 1997 can be considered as one of the worst environmental disasters that have occurred in southeast Asia in recent history. This study investigated the local meteorology characteristics of an equatorial environment within a domain that includes the northwestern part of Borneo from the 17 to 27 September 1997 during the height of the haze episode by utilizing a limited area three-dimensional meteorological and dispersion model, The Air Pollution Model (TAPM).
Daily land and sea breeze conditions near the northwestern coast of Borneo in the state ofSarawak, Malaysia were predicted with moderate success by the index of agreement of less than one between the observed and simulated values for wind speed and a slight overprediction of 2.3 of the skill indicator that evaluates the standard deviation to the observed values. The innermost domain of study comprises an area of 24,193 km2, from approximately 109°E to 111°E, and from 1°N to 2.3°N, which includes a part of the South China Sea. Tracer analysis of air particles that were sourced in the state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo verified the existence of the landward and shoreward movements of the air during the simulation of the low level wind field. Polluted air particles were transported seawards during night-time, and landwards during daytime, highlighting the recirculation features of aged and newer air particles during the length of eleven days throughout the model simulation. Near calm conditions at low levels were simulated by the trajectory analysis from midnight to mid-day on the 22 of September 1997. Low-level turbulence within the planetary boundary layer in terms of the total kinetic energy was weak, congruent with the weak strength of low level winds that reduced the ability of the air to transport the pollutants.
Statistical evaluation showed that parameters such as the systematic RMSE and unsystematic RMSE between the observed and simulated values indicated the modest skill of the model in simulating the low level winds. Otherwise, the equatorial meteorological parameters such as wind speed and temperature were successfully simulated by the model with comparatively high correlation coefficients, lower RMSEs and moderately high indices of agreement with observed values.
Volume 128 | Issue 8
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