Jul 13, 2020

Poor visibility in some parts of Palawan attributed to “smaze”

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the decreased visibility frequently observed the past days is due to the presence of smaze (smog and haze) in the atmosphere throughout the province of Palawan.

Haze from Indonesian forest fire visible in El Nido. (Photo courtesy of Jonathan Benitez)

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the decreased visibility frequently observed the past days is due to the presence of smaze (smog and haze) in the atmosphere throughout the province of Palawan.

Local chief Sonny Pajarilla said that the weak intensity of the wind and the absence of rains are contributing to the transport of particles and to also slow down within the atmosphere.

“Dahil mahina ang hangin, ang transport ng dispersion na tinatawag ay mahina rin, concentrated yong particulate matter na tina-transport from Indonesia plus ngayon,” he said.

According to PAGASA, the decreased visibility observed in the past few days is due to smaze. (Photo by Ralph Oliver Bernas)

He said that there will be no rain occurrence on the weekend.

“Ngayong weekend ay walang pag-ulan hanggang early next week. Ang kagandahan lang ay pagkawala ng bagyong si Nimfa ay magkakaroon ng reversal yong ating hangin di na magiging southwest, magkakaroon ng monsoon break,” he said.

Due to the reversal of the wind caused by monsoon break, the wind will come from the northeast and north so there will be no transport of particles that could happen.

“Kasi kaya lang naman tayo may smaze from Indonesia ay dahil southwest ang ating winds na nanggagaling sa timog. Maaaring magkaroon ng improvement ang ating horizontal visibility meaning mas magiging malinis at hindi gloomy ang ating atmosphere next week,” he said.

Contributed photo taken inside a light aircraft traveling to southern Palawan. (Photo by Johnrock Abarintos Macasaet)

He said that the risk of decreasing visibility could affect sea transportation.

“Ang haze kasi ay nagsi-serve as condensation nuclei ibig sabihin it serves as a surface to condense on, nagiging landingan sya ng water vapor. Kung marami ka particulate matter to condense on, marami low lying clouds,” he said.

Pajarilla explained that the low lying clouds look like fog due to mist near the water surface.

He said that the agency can only comment on the effect of smaze on navigation.

Palawan has not yet experienced any cancellation of flights due to haze unlike in other countries.

He said the province has many absorbents such as trees and water bodies and there are isolated rains in mountains.

Pajarilla said that the experienced smaze is not alarming unlike what happened in 2015.

Smaze is a combination of smoke and haze.

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