Apocalypse? Red skies over Indonesian province due to haze

Scientists have said that the colour is due to a scientific phenomenon known as Rayleigh scattering

By DTE Staff
Published: Monday 23 September 2019
The red skies over Indonesia's Jambi province caused by the southeast Asian haze. Photo: Twitter

Indonesians have captured the skies over a province of the country to be appearing as blood red due to the haze that been hovering over maritime southeast Asia for quite some time now, media reports have said.

First, a resident of the Mekar Sari village in the Jambi province, Eka Wulandari captured the blood red skies in a series of photographs which she posted on to Facebook.

Next, a Twitter user named Zuni Shofi Yatun Nisa posted a video of similar skies onto the micro-blogging site.

A scientist of the Singapore University of Social Sciences told the British Broadcasting Corporation that the red skies could be attributed to a scientific phenomenon known as ‘Rayleigh scattering’.

He explained that while the most abundant particles in a haze, which are one micrometres in size, are not usually visible.

However, smaller particles of 0.05 micrometres or less, have a tendency to scatter red light more in the forward and backward directions than blue light. This is why red light is visible more to the naked eye than blue light, the scientist added.

The photos and videos were captured at noon, when the sun is overhead. This, said the scientist, could have caused the sky to appear red.

He also noted that this phenomenon would not modify the air temperature.

Southeast Asian Haze

The period from July to October, which is the dry season in Indonesia, is the time when fire season is at its peak in southeast Asia.

Many of the fires are lit by people, usually by big corporations as well as small farmers, who use the slash-and-burn technique to clear plots of land and plants crops like palm oil and paper.

According to experts, the haze this year has been the worst. It has spread across Indonesia and Malaysia, where the biggest city, Kuala Lumpur has had to remain largely shut for a number of days.

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