MORE monitoring stations in Brunei and Southeast Asian (ASEAN) partners can help in research for climate change, says an expert from the National University of Singapore.
Speaking to The Brunei Times on the sidelines of the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze (MSC) yesterday, Dr Jason Blake Cohen, an assistant professor from NUS, who specialises in Climate Science, said that what Brunei and other countries in the Southeast Asian region could do to help with climate change studies was to provide more access to data and have more monitoring stations.
"Currently there is a station in Singapore and a few stations in Thailand and Vietnam, it would be very helpful for us," he said.
"This area has such a complex terrain, such a complex ecosystem," Dr Cohen said, adding that there are issues of fire and rapid urbanisation and development.
He said that in comparison with the other parts of the world, such as Europe, the United States or Japan, "the density of stations we have are much lower".
He said that if more "stations on the ground" were provided, they could improve their ability to look at changes, explaining also that data from satellites were not 'perfect'.
Speaking specifically on Brunei, he said that the "pristine" forest environment would be able to provide a 'unique' source of data for the studies.
He explained that the 'natural' forest environment of Brunei was hard to find, and that the data could be used as 'baseline information' on emission of naturally occurring gases.
Dr Cohen said that the data was important for predicting climate change in the region.
He said further that the 'Monsoon Climate' which affects most of the ASEAN countries as well as some parts of China and Australia is experiencing change. "In some places it is coming later or the intensity is changing," he said.
According to him, the gaseous species such as carbon dioxide, haze or aerosol substances from fires, can change the 'energy balance' in the environment "at a very large scale", citing it affects the winds which in turns resulted in the dry and wet seasons.
He said that this was an area that science "is just starting to talk about". "It is a hot topic," he said. He also said that if they could better establish the connection between haze and the effect on the monsoon season, they would be able to better handle and control what "we are starting to experience, as it may get worse in the future".
"This would be more incentive for us to control haze, as not only does it affect human health, which we know about, but also affects rainfall, which is vital in this region." Koo Jin Shen
The Brunei Times
Thursday, May 10, 2012
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