Best of our wild blogs: 8 Jun 12

Scaling down the rocks for the coral garden, Tanah Merah
from Psychedelic Nature and wild shores of singapore

Of hairy crabs and healthy reefs
from The annotated budak

Kusu Island: City reefs of Singapore!
from wild shores of singapore

Poikilospermum suaveolens (Urticaceae) and birds
from Bird Ecology Study Group

The Festival of Biodiversity (a belated post)
from Nature rambles

Heritage Kampung this weekend!
from Green Drinks Singapore

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It's a scorcher... and the nights are getting hotter

Straits Times 8 Jun 12;

IT IS going to be hot, hot, hot - even at night.

The weatherman has warned that temperatures are expected to soar to 30 deg C at night in the coming weeks.

Daily temperatures are likely to hit a high of 34 deg C as Singapore sweats it out in June - typically the hottest month of the year. The average daily maximum temperature for June is 31.3 deg C while the minimum is 24.8 deg C.

A spokesman for Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) said temperatures of between 29 deg C and 30 deg C have been recorded on several nights in June, July and August in recent years.

The heat is a feature of the south-west monsoon season from June to September.

It is marked by light winds from the south-east that bring warm and humid air from the sea.

But it is slightly warmer along coastal areas in south-eastern and south-western Singapore due to their proximity to the sea.

This season is also a dry period, with hardly any rain.

The highest temperature recorded in June was 35 deg C in 1985.

Weather experts said it could be warmer in the more urban areas of Singapore.

Said Nanyang Technological University assistant professor Koh Tieh-Yong, from the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences: 'Built-up concrete areas such as Housing Board estates retain daytime heat and take a longer time to cool down.'

The difference in temperature between urban and rural areas could be up to 2 deg C, he added.

Respite will come when the south-west monsoon tails off in September and lower day and night temperatures follow, said the MSS spokesman.


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New system to help vessels in Malacca strait

The Jakarta Post 8 Jun 12;

Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia are about to launch a newly improved ship management system for the region. The system aims to ensure maritime safety and marine environment protection in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.

The new system, called the Marine Electronic Highway (MEH), will transmit real-time information to a data center, which is located in Batam in Indonesia’s Riau province.

The center will then send the data to related agencies in Malaysia and Singapore, as well as to vessels passing through the straits.

According to Raja Malik Saripulazan, the director of the MEH demonstration project, the maritime states have developed the system to ensure safety in the area now that the situation in the straits is becoming more dynamic.

“The amount of faster and bigger ships is increasing. There are ships that carry oil and other chemical contents. There’s also the growing interest of cruise ships that carry a large number of people,” he said in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Arief Yuwono, deputy minister at Indonesia’s Environment Ministry, confirmed Saripulazan’s statement.

He said that as many as 200 large crude carriers passed through the straits every day and they risked damaging the marine ecosystem.

Ashok Mahapatra from the International Maritime Organization said that shipmasters would be able to navigate their vessels better using data from the center.

“We send information about the tides, positions of navigation buoys, water levels and many more subjects. They can travel safely and, at the same time, avoid damaging the environment,” Mahapatra

The MEH system is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), an independent financial organization, which focuses on global environmental issues. The GEF initiated the project in 1996.

Mustapha Benmaamar, a senior transport specialist at The World Bank, a GEF agency, said that the GEF had disbursed about US$8.3 million in grants for the project.

He added that the MEH system would have implications wider than simply the littoral states because many countries used the straits.

He said that if the project was successful, the World Bank would implement it in many other parts of the world, such as the Mediterranean Sea and the China Sea.

“We are moving to the implementation stage. Now we aim to attract users and demonstrate the benefits to them. Hopefully we can make the system available to as many users as possible, so we can sustain the project financially and bring it to another level,” Benmaamar said.

To be able to make use of the system, owners of the vessels do not have to install additional technology.

Mahapatra said that they could use current equipment already in place on board, such as the Electronic Chart Display and Information System and Automated Identification System.

Benmaamar added that it would be helpful if the users could contribute through subscriptions once they valued the project’s benefits. However, he said that they had yet to come up with a subscription fee. (tas)

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