JAKARTA, July 3 — The traditional dry season for the southern region of South-east Asia — comprising Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and southern Thailand — have started, said Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC).

The ASMC associated the dry season with the onset of the Southwest Monsoon, and it is likely to stretch into October 2022.

“The prevailing La Niña conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean are forecast to continue weakening, with either La Niña or neutral conditions expected for the rest of the year,” it said in a statement.

In addition, a negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is developing in the equatorial Indian Ocean and is expected to become established by August 2022.

According to ASMC, La Niña and negative IOD phenomena are expected to bring above-normal rainfall to most parts of the region between July and October 2022.

However, it warned that there is still a risk of increased fire hotspot activity and smoke haze development during occasional periods of extended dry and warm weather in the coming months.

Therefore, ASMC urged the region to stay vigilant and take early preventive measures to mitigate land and forest fires.

The centre also expected for the overall smoke haze situation this year to not likely be as severe as in 2015 and 2019 — when there was prolonged drier-than-normal weather caused by a strong El Niño and a strong positive IOD, respectively.

Nonetheless, some transboundary haze may occur if the prevailing southeasterly to westerly winds blow smoke haze from persistent fires to neighbouring countries, ASMC said. — Bernama