Experts have predicted a worse haze in 2007 due to a returning, and stronger, El Nino. This haze could possibly match that of 1997-1998 or even worse. "If the El Nino extends to the next slash-and-burn season, we can definitely anticipate a haze matching that of 1997," said Assistant Professor Chang Chew Hung of the National Institute of Education.
Professor of meteorology, Xie Shang-Ping of the International Pacific Research Centre (IPRC) was quoted by Bernama The Malaysian National News Agency that, ¡°Instead of rain towards November, Singapore may very well be faced with a prolonged El Nino, causing the haze to linger to possibly February 2008.¡± (The Malaysian National News Agency, 30 Oct 2006 issue)
The terrible El Nino phenomenon, which was seen in 1997-1998, was what triggered the devastating haze that was estimated to have cost SE Asia USD 9 billon losses. It damaged 9 million hectares of land in Indonesia and affected 70 million people. This led to the signing of the 2002 ASEAN agreement on transboundary haze pollution by the ASEAN countries.