Met Dept begins cloud seeding in Sarawak

A red sun is seen over Kuching September 8, 2019. — Bernama pic
A red sun is seen over Kuching September 8, 2019. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR,  Sept 12 ― The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) has begun cloud seeding operations (OPA) in west Sarawak today to reduce the haze there.

METMalaysia director-general Jailan Simon said the operations was conducted in several areas including Sri Aman, Kuching and Samarahan, with the cooperation of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF).

“METMalaysia and RMAF left at noon from Labuan, Sabah for west Sarawak on an RMAF C130 aircraft to begin the operations,” he told Bernama when contacted today.

Earlier, interviewed on Bernama Radio this morning, Jailan said several factors including atmospheric conditions, wind formation and direction would be taken into consideration before the OPA could be carried out to ensure its success.

“The operations does not mean we are making rain, but we speed up the rain. For it to be successful, the atmosphere must not be stable, if it is stable, there will be no cloud formation and the operations cannot be conducted.

“There must also be moisture in the atmosphere and the cloud condition must be suitable for seeding. If there are no clouds, we cannot perform the operations and we must also study the direction of the wind. If it is too strong, the rain will fall elsewhere,” he said.

Jailan said the haze is expected to end early next month when the monsoons change and the south west monsoon ends.

“At present, even though the cloud seeding operations has been carried out, the haze will still come back with the wind from the south west. For as long as the southwest wind is there, and there is still burning, the haze will be there because the wind is bringing the smoke to us.

“However, the cloud seeding does help to reduce the haze,” he said, adding that the OPA could not be done in peninsular Malaysia due to unsuitable conditions.

According to the Air Pollutant Index Management System (APIMS), as of 1pm today, 16 areas recorded an unhealthy API reading, with Johan Setia, Selangor recording a very unhealthy reading of 208. ― Bernama

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