Insane World

Blood red skies haunt Indonesia warning climate change

Skies over Indonesia turned red over the weekend, due to the widespread forest fires that have plagued huge parts of the nation. The wild image comes from Indonesia’s province of Jambi. The resident said the haze had “hurt her eyes and throat”.

Wild forest fires every year in Indonesia create a smoky haze that can end up blanketing the entire South East Asian region. Weather experts called the unusual phenomenon as Rayleigh scattering.

The pictures of blood red skies was captured on Saturday morning. The haze conditions had been especially “thick” that day. A user on social media shared a video of the colored skies writing, “This is not Mars. This is Jambi.. We humans need clean air, not smoke.”

Satellite images revealed many pockets of “thick smoke distribution” in the area around the Jambi region.

Rayleigh scattering occurs when certain types of particles that are present during a period of haze.

In the smoke haze, the most abundant particles are around 1 micrometre in size, but these particles do not change the colour of the light one see. But smaller particles, around 0.05 micrometres or less that are more abundant during a haze period they tend to give an extra tendency to scatter red light more in the forward and backward directions than blue light and this is why one sees more red than blue light.

Hazy conditions have increased over the past couple of weeks in Indonesia mostly crop burning. Farmers take advantage of dry condition to clear vegetation for palm oil, pulp and paper plantations using the slash-and-burn method.

This slash-and-burn technique employed by many in the region is arguably the easiest way for farmers to clear their land and helps them get rid of any disease that may have affected their crops. Slash-and-burn is illegal in Indonesia but has been allowed to continue.

Sometimes, these fires often spin out of control and spread into protected forested areas.