KUALA LUMPUR, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- Malaysian authorities began cloud seeding operations on Thursday in an attempt to combat persistent haze, officials said.
Malaysia's Minister of Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment (MESTECC) Yeo Bee Yin said a Malaysian airforce aircraft conducted cloud seeding with a salt solution in several areas of Sarawak state on Thursday afternoon.
"The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MET) in cooperation with the National Disaster Management Agency, Royal Malaysian Airforce and Labuan Water Department carried out cloud seeding operations in Sarawak," she said in the social media posting.
Meanwhile, MET Director-General Jailan Simon said the success of the operation depended on weather patterns, wind direction and atmospheric conditions.
"This operation will not mean we are making rain, but we are hastening rain," he told state news agency Bernama.
He added that despite the cloud seeding, the haze would return because of the southwest wind direction, and that this combined with continued forest fires would mean smoke would continue to be blown towards Malaysia.
Yeo's Ministry had said last week that the cause of the haze was due to forest fires mainly in neighbouring Indonesia.
Jailan said the haze was expected to persist until the end of September when the monsoon transitional period, which would bring heavy rain in the region.