Severe Air Pollution Due to Peat Fires During 2015 Super El Niño in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

  • Hiroshi Hayasaka
  • Alpon Sepriando
Part of the Springer Remote Sensing/Photogrammetry book series (SPRINGERREMO)


Severe air pollution due to biomass burning occurred again in Indonesia during the 2015 super El Niño. In this study, air pollution data measured at Palangkaraya, near the northern part of the Mega Rice Project (MRP) area in Kalimantan, are analyzed in conjunction with fire and precipitation data, and satellite imagery. During super (very strong) El Niño conditions in 2015, the dry season lasted about 150 days from late-May to late-October, with low precipitation (=1.0 mm day−1; average precipitation in dry season = 3.9 mm day−1). Forest and peat fires became active around mid-August, about 3 months after the onset of the dry season, followed by a period of severe air pollution (PM10 > 420 × 10−6 gm−3; Hazardous level) starting in mid-September and lasting through late-October. These time-lags between the dry season, fires, and air pollution period suggest that biomass fuel needs about 3 months to become dry enough to start active fires, and that peat underground needs about 4 months to become ignitable dry peat. After severe peat fires began in late-September, highest daily and hourly PM10 concentrations (3010 and 3760 × 10−6 gm−3, respectively) were observed on October 20, 2015. These fire and air pollution occurrence tendencies suggest that peat fires are the main source of air pollution.


Peat fire PM10 Land use cover change MODIS El Niño MRP 



This study was partly supported by The Environment Research and Technology Development Fund 4-1506, Ministry of Environment, Japan.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of EngineeringHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  2. 2.Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and GeophysicsJakartaIndonesia

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