|Photo Credit: Jamalludin (via ABC News Australia)|
Indonesia is not the new Mars, although it bears semblance to the planet because the skies of Jambi province are blanketed in blood-red hues, reports Natasha Ishak of All That’s Interesting, a website dedicated to publishing intriguing stories. The red sky loomed over the province due to forest fires, which have been occurring for weeks, according to government officials. On September 22, stunned residents began to take photos of the crimson landscape and posting them online.
Twitter user Zuni Shofi Yatun Nisa wrote that human beings need clean air rather than smoke. The country’s National Board for Disaster Management refers to the ominous phenomenon as “Rayleigh Scattering.” Indonesian astronomer Marufin Sudibyo explains to news platform Sinar Harian, “Rayleigh Scattering happens when sunlight is dispersed by smoke, dust or airborne particles that filter shorter wavelengths and release longer wavelengths that are in the orange or red spectrum, making the area appear to be dim and red.”
|Photo Credit Syarif Abdullah/ANTARA (via All That's Interesting)|
Sudibyo says that the blood-red sky does not harm people’s eyesight. It is was not caused by “extreme rising temperatures.” Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) says there were high concentrations of pollutant particles “sized less than 10 micrometers” surrounding Jambi, Palembang, and Pekanbaru.
Jambi was the only area that experienced the sinister phenomenon, which means that the province’s air contained “a higher concentration of pollutant particles.” Moreover, satellite imagery from the agency showed “numerous hotspots and thick smoke distribution in areas surrounding Jambi.”
|Photo Credit: Laily Rachev/ Indonesian Presidential Secretariat (via All That's Interesting)|
Now, environmentalists are concerned because it indicates “extreme climate change.” Smog caused by forest fires even reached Singapore and Malaysia. Last week, Singapore warned residents to stay indoors and issued a health advisory. Malaysia distributed 2 million face masks to students situated in areas with “very unhealthy” air.
Many of Indonesia’s wildfires are manmade, as the slash-and-burn technique is still used by prominent conglomerates and small-scale farmers.