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Posts tagged Sarawak

Fires Raging on Borneo Contribute to Brown Haze Across Southeast Asia – August 11th, 2009

1.0N 110.5E

August 11th, 2009 Category: Fires, Image of the day

Fires on Borneo - August 8th, 2009

Fires on Borneo - August 8th, 2009

West Kalimantan fires

West Kalimantan fires

Sarawak fires

Sarawak fires

Forest fires raging in Malaysian and Indonesian Borneo in this image, taken on the 8th of August, send thick plumes of smoke arching north-northeast offshore. These fires threaten to intensify a “brown haze” across southern Asia.

Smoke from the fires blew over major towns on Borneo island, causing air quality to plunge to its worst level this year in parts of Malaysia’s eastern Sarawak state on Borneo.

In this region, more than 2,471 acres (1,000 hectares) of wildfires – roughly the size of 1,500 soccer fields – are ablaze in several forests, according to the AP. Many fires can also be seen in Indonesia’s province of West Kalimantan, both near and far from the Sarawak border.

The fires are believed to be caused by plantation operators who set brush fires to clear land during the dry season. State authorities have said they are considering tighter restrictions to ban setting fires on peat soil areas, which are harder to extinguish.

Fires by West Kalimantan-Sarawak border

Fires by West Kalimantan-Sarawak border

The UN has identified this “brown haze”, a near-permanent cloud across southern Asia, as one of the world’s worst environmental hazards. The haze is caused by the smoke from forest fires and agricultural burning, as well as industrial emissions and inefficient wood and dung burning stoves. It can reduce the solar energy reaching the Earth’s surface by up to 15 per cent, reports the New Scientist, altering the Asian monsoon, reducing harvests and killing as many as a million people a year from respiratory diseases.

Sediments in Brunei Bay and Rajang Rivermouth

March 27th, 2009 Category: Rivers

Malaysia - March 22nd, 2009

Malaysia - March 22nd, 2009

A dense tan flow of sediments makes its way into the South China Sea from the mouth of the Rajang River in Sarawak, Malaysia. The river is located in northwest of Borneo and it originates in the Iran Mountains. The river flows approximately 563 km to the sea, making it the longest river in Malaysia.

Up the coast, sediments can also be seen on the northern shores of Brunei Bay, the gateway to Brunei and Borneo. It is located east of Bandar Seri Begawan.  It is a deeply indented bay with an area of about 250,000 ha, shared between Brunei Darussalam and the East Malaysian States of Sarawak and Sabah.

A chain of islands including the large Malaysian island of Labuan forms the boundary between the bay and the South China Sea. Freshwater flows into the bay via a labyrinth of interconnecting channels and waterways.

Most of the east and south shores of the bay are covered in extensive mangrove forests with associated mudflats and sandflats at the mouths of the major estuaries. The mangrove forests form a continuous, intact forest within Bruneian territory, but those within the adjacent Sarawak territory have been largely clear-felled to supply the wood-chip industry.

The major rivers entering the Brunei Estuary in the southwest are the Brunei, Limbang, Temburong, Bangar and Trusan. The Limbang and Temburong drain catchments which are predominantly primary rainforest, and carry high silt loads.

The smaller Brunei River receives the drainage from the city of Bandar Seri Begawan and its environment, and is therefore subject to considerable urban pollution. Several smaller rivers drain the extensive peat swamp forests of Temburong District. These carry very small silt loads, but are rich in peat and woody debris.

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