Public health impacts of the severe haze in Equatorial Asia in September–October 2015: demonstration of a new framework for informing fire management strategies to reduce downwind smoke exposure

In September–October 2015, El Niño and positive Indian Ocean Dipole conditions set the stage for massive fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), leading to persistently hazardous levels of smoke pollution across much of Equatorial Asia. Here we quantify the emission sources and health impacts of this haze episode and compare the sources and impacts to an event of similar magnitude occurring under similar meteorological conditions in September–October 2006. Using the adjoint of the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model, we first calculate the influence of potential fire emissions across the domain on smoke concentrations in three receptor areas downwind—Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore—during the 2006 event.

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