2016 hottest year in Singapore, overall rainfall less than normal

Today Online 23 Mar 17;

SINGAPORE — Singapore experienced its hottest year on record last year as rainfall fell slightly below normal levels, the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) said in a report released on Thursday (March 23).

The annual mean temperature of 28.4°C last year was higher than the climatological average of 27.5°C (taken over the 1981-2010 base period). This breaks the previous joint record of 28.3°C set in 2015, 1998 and 1997.

As for annual rainfall, overall, the 1,956mm recorded last year measured below the climatological average of 2,166mm.

Last December, the MSS already gave an early indication that 2016 would be the hottest year since temperature records were collected in 1929.

Temperatures soared in the first half of last year due to the effects of a very strong El Nino phenomenon, giving rise to warmer and drier weather conditions in the South-east Asia region. El Nino gave way to La Nina in the second half of the year, resulting in wetter conditions.

New monthly records were also set last year, with January (28.3°C), April (29.4°C) and August (28.9°C) being the warmest months. The month of May was the second warmest May since May 1998, while December was the second warmest December after December 2015.

Last year also saw the driest March ever in Singapore, with a monthly rainfall total of 6.2mm recorded at Changi climate station.

However, the western parts of the island experienced well above normal rainfall in June and July, with the year’s highest monthly rainfall (434.4mm) recorded in July over Jurong.

In its Annual Climate Assessment Report 2016, the MSS also said that a relatively wet start of the South-west Monsoon was part of the reason why there were fewer and less severe occurrences of transboundary haze affecting the region last year compared to the year before.

“Singapore was affected by only one significant episode from 26 to 28 August 2016 when haze from fires in central Sumatra was blown in by the prevailing westerly winds. The 24-hr Pollutant Standards Index reached a high of 143 (in the unhealthy range) at 8am on 27 August 2016, before gradually returning to normal levels in the late afternoon on 28 August 2016,” the report said.

The MSS also pointed out that eight of Singapore’s 10 warmest years happened in the 21st century. All the 10 warmest years have occurred since 1997, consistent with ongoing global warming.

Worldwide, last year was also the warmest year on record, as recently confirmed by the World Meteorological Organisation, the MSS said.

The release of the report by the MSS is in conjunction with the World Meteorological Day, which is observed yearly on March 23.


El Nino occurs every three to five years on average, when the sea surface tempareture in the eastern and central tropical Pacific Ocean is warmer than normal, causing disruptions to weather patterns globally. La Nina is the reverse of El Nino, when the sea surface temperature in the same parts of the Pacific is much cooler than normal.

2016 was warmest year on record for Singapore: MSS
Channel NewsAsia 23 Mar 17;

SINGAPORE: Last year was the warmest on record for Singapore, the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) announced on Thursday (Mar 23), breaking the previous joint record set in the years 2015, 1998 and 1997.

2016 saw an annual mean temperature of 28.4°C, exceeding the climatological average by 0.9°C, MSS stated in its Annual Climate Assessment Report.

Eight of Singapore’s 10 warmest years have occurred in the current 21st century, with all the 10 warmest years occurring since 1997, consistent with ongoing global warming, MSS said.

January, April and August set new records for being the warmest of each month in Singapore's history. In addition, May and December 2016 were the second warmest May (after May 1998) and December (after December 2015).

Based on Annual Climatological Report 2016, some temperature stations omitted due to incomplete dataset.


In addition to ongoing global warming, natural climate variability also played a major part in these record warm years, with all the years connected to El Nino events, said MSS.

A strong El Nino emerged in the second half of 2015 and started to decline in early 2016. According to MSS it had a significant impact on temperature and rainfall across Singapore and the surrounding region, which experienced hot and dry weather spells in March and April 2016.

El Nino is a recurring climate pattern caused by interactions between the atmosphere and the ocean in the tropical Pacific. During El Nino, the central-eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean is warmer than usual, leading to drier and warmer conditions especially during the June to October period over Southeast Asia.

The second half of 2017 also saw a high frequency of Sumatra squalls, which brought moderate to heavy thundery showers and gusty winds to Singapore, according to the MSS report.

El Nino gave way to its reverse, La Nina, in the second half of 2016, resulting in wetter conditions over the region, it added.

- CNA/nc

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