Singapore temperatures rising at double the global average

KENNETH CHENG Today Online 22 Mar 16;

SINGAPORE — Over the past six decades, temperatures here have risen at a rate more than double that of the global average, with rapid urbanisation cited as a likely major contributing cause, the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) said on Tuesday (March 22).

Releasing its inaugural Annual Climate Assessment Report with a focus on last year’s climate trends, the MSS said temperatures in the Republic rose by an average of 0.25°C per decade between 1948 and last year, compared with the global increase of 0.12°C per decade between 1951 and 2012.

Meanwhile, the blistering heat is showing no signs of abating, with the MSS forecasting that the warm weather will persist for another month or two. The Republic can also expect more warm days, with maximum temperatures of between 33°C and 35°C.

Nevertheless, the prevailing El Nino phenomenon — the warm phase of a temperature cycle in the tropical central and eastern Pacific Ocean — is tapering gradually and is expected to weaken further around the middle of this year.

Commenting on the rise in temperatures here, the MSS said it cannot be ascribed solely to warming brought about by the emission of greenhouse gases; human activity is also a contributing factor.

It singled out land-use change, such as urbanisation, as a key example that “can impact temperatures … (and) is likely to have played a significant role in Singapore”.

Climate experts interviewed by TODAY concurred that the rapid pace of urban growth here is likely to have had a role in sending temperatures on an upward trajectory.

Associate Professor Matthias Roth, deputy head of the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Department of Geography, said built-up areas in Singapore have approximately doubled since the 1950s to accommodate a fast-growing population.

“As vegetation is turned into concrete and paved surfaces, the incoming energy from the sun is stored in man-made structures during daytime and released at night, thereby increasing local temperatures,” he said, adding that this “urban heat island effect” is a well-known phenomenon that also explains the trend towards warmer nights.

The MSS report also noted shifts in the frequency of “extreme high and low temperatures” here. From 1972, the country has experienced a rise in the number of warm days and nights, and conversely, a decrease in the number of cool days and nights, the 
report said.

Last year alone, there were 127 warm days (34.1°C or higher) and 153 warm nights (26.4°C or higher). By contrast, there were 17 cool days (29.2°C or lower) and 21 cool nights (22.4°C or lower).

Assistant Professor Massimo Lupascu, also from NUS’s Department of Geography, pointed out that when concrete replaces vegetation, evaporation — which absorbs energy and keeps an area cool — also decreases.

“As there is more evaporation happening in parks, forests and rural areas, these are normally cooler than cities,” he said.

Asst Prof Winston Chow, who works in the same department at NUS, said Singapore’s position in a region that is more heavily “exposed to changes in regional weather due to El Nino events” is another factor for the sharper temperature increases.

Still, that greenhouse-gas emissions are largely behind rising temperatures worldwide must not be ignored, he added. “When you urbanise, you use a lot of fossil-fuel energy that contributes to the greenhouse-gas problem. So you have a double whammy.”

Earlier this year, it was reported that last year was one of Singapore’s hottest on record, joining 1997 and 1998 as the warmest years, with an annual mean temperature of 28.3°C.

Last year was also the second-driest for the Republic, with 1,266.8mm of rainfall recorded, trailing behind 1997, the driest year on record, when 1,118.9mm of rainfall was registered. Most parts of the country received below-average rainfall — measured against the average rainfall between 1981 and 2010.

2015 was Singapore's warmest year on record: MSS
It was also the 2nd-driest year after 1997, according to the Meteorological Service Singapore.
Channel NewsAsia 22 Mar 16;

SINGAPORE: The average mean temperature for the Republic last year was 28.3°C, making it the warmest recorded year in the country's history - tied with 1997 and 1998, according to the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) on Tuesday (Mar 22).

The temperature in 2015 exceeded the climatological average by 0.8°C, MSS added.

The meteorological agency said that in 2015, Singapore saw warmer than normal monthly temperatures for all months except February, with the warmest months being July, October, November and December. December 2015 had the highest recorded temperatures since Singapore’s temperature records began in 1929.

The warming trend in Singapore has been observed over a number of decades, MSS said. The average rise of 0.25°C per decade from 1948 to 2015 in the Republic is higher than the global warming rate of 0.12°C for a similar period (1951 to 2012).

According to MSS, this trend appears to be accompanied by an increase in the number of warm days and warm nights with temperatures above 34.1°C, occurring against a background of year-to-year climate variability mostly associated with El Niño and La Niña events.

It added that 2015 was also the second driest year recorded in Singapore, with only 1,266.8mm of rainfall recorded. The drier weather in the second half of 2015 was exacerbated by the prevailing El Nino, which in turn contributed to one of the longest and most severe transboundary haze events experienced in Singapore, MSS said.

The driest year on record was 1997, with 1,118.9mm of rainfall.


Prevailing El Nino conditions, which peaked in December after developing in mid-2015, are "gradually weakening" said MSS. This is forecast to weaken further around mid-2016, where conditions transition to neutral, the authority added.

For the later part of 2016, there is is equal likelihood for neutral conditions to persist or for La Nina, added. MSS.

However, for the next one or two months, warmer conditions can still be expected with the mean monthly temperatures likely to be significantly higher than their respective long-term averages.

"More warm days with daily maximum temperatures between 33°C and 35°C can be expected," said MSS.

In its release on Tuesday, MSS also announced the free "Weather@SG" app that provides the latest national forecasts, as well as warnings and advisories. It will be available on the Apple App Store and the Android Play Store.

- CNA/mz

Hot weather may be more frequent, says Met Service
Calvin Yang, Straits Times AsiaOne 23 Mar 16;

Hotter weather could become more frequent in Singapore, along with more extreme weather fluctuations in the drier and wetter months.

In years to come, there are indications that the daily mean temperatures will rise further, according to an inaugural climate assessment report released by the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) yesterday.

The wet periods from November to January and dry months of February and from June to September are projected to get wetter and drier respectively.

Last year, Singapore recorded its joint warmest year, together with 1998 and 1997, with an annual mean temperature of 28.3 deg C. The other seven of the country's 10 warmest years also occurred in the 21st century.

The higher annual mean temperature set last year was partly influenced by one of the strongest El Nino events on record, particularly in the latter half of 2015.

New monthly records were set for the warmest July and December, and records were equalled for October and November.

The warming trend here has been observed over several decades. The average rise of 0.25 deg C per decade from 1948 to 2015 is higher than the global warming rate of 0.12 deg C for a similar period from 1951 to 2012.

With only 1,266.8mm of rainfall recorded, 2015 was also Singapore's second driest year after 1997.

The prevailing El Nino, which developed in the middle of last year and is gradually weakening, exacerbated the dry weather conditions in the region, leading to one of the most severe haze episodes here.

The annual report by the MSS, the national authority for weather and climate, provides updates on climate trends over Singapore, and highlights climatic features and weather occurrences that have affected the country during the year. It aims to provide a perspective of Singapore's current climate situation with that of historical records.

The projections are not surprising, according to experts.

Associate Professor Koh Tieh Yong of SIM University and Assistant Professor Winston Chow of the National University of Singapore's geography department agreed that these outcomes are likely to take place as long as greenhouse gas emissions continue worldwide from human activity.

Prof Koh said Singapore's urban build-up does not help the situation, as "concrete city landscapes trap more heat than natural vegetation". He added that with the dry spells that may occur more frequently by the end of the century, water resource management will be more important for Singapore.

With indications that hotter, drier and wetter conditions are expected, timely weather information will become more important.

In view of this, the MSS also launched a weather mobile application, Weather@SG, yesterday to provide users with access to current conditions at various locations, latest weather forecasts, and warnings of heavy rain and other hazards.

Free phone app to track weather changes in S’pore
Today Online 23 Mar 16;

SINGAPORE — Before reaching for the umbrella, check your smartphone. A new free phone app that allows users to conveniently check updates on weather conditions in Singapore was launched on Tuesday (March 22).

The iPhone and Android application, Weather@SG, will provide the latest national forecasts, advisories, warnings and other weather-related notices such as heavy rain warnings and hazards. Users can also view the rain areas over the island and up to 240km away from their locations.

The Meteorological Service Singapore, which announced the launch in a statement, said that “timely weather information will become increasingly important” given that there are indications that hotter, drier and wetter weather conditions could become more frequent here.

The app, which may be downloaded from the Apple App Store and the Android Play Store, can detect the user’s location and automatically display a two-hour “nowcast” and weather conditions such as temperature, rain amount and wind information. Temperature and rainfall trends for the past 12 hours are also available.

Over the next one or two months, the agency said more warm days with daily maximum temperatures of 33°C to 35°C are to be expected.