Singapore

2019 ties with 2016 for Singapore’s hottest year on record

Last year matched the hottest year on record in Singapore, with the annual mean temperature hitting 28.4 deg C.

In its 2019 review of Singapore's weather and climate released yesterday, the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) said last year's mean temperature was the same as that in 2016, and 0.9 deg C higher than the 1981 to 2010 long-term average.

This was likely the result of a combination of global warming and the occurrence of a coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon called the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which caused drier and warmer conditions in South-east Asia.

In its positive phase, the IOD draws rainfall away from countries on the Indian Ocean's eastern rim, including Singapore and Australia, and causes warmer temperatures in affected areas.

"The cause of the warm temperatures last year can be attributed to the strong positive IOD phase on top of the long-term warming trend over Singapore due to global warming and urbanisation," an MSS spokesman told The Straits Times.

The mean temperature from 2010 to 2019 - 27.94 deg C - in Singapore also surpassed the previous warmest decade from 2009 to 2018, which had a mean temperature of 27.89 deg C.

MSS said this trend is consistent with global temperature patterns.

The World Meteorological Organisation said on Wednesday that last year was the earth's second hottest since records began and the world should brace itself for more extreme weather events such as the bush fires ravaging Australia.

The positive phase of the IOD - among the strongest since the 60s - also resulted in drier than usual weather here.

Last year was the third driest year recorded since 1869 as the strong, positive IOD event led to lower rainfall and higher temperatures, especially during the third quarter, said MSS.

The usually rainy phase of the north-east monsoon season also broke a record.

The Republic experienced its longest north-east monsoon surge over the past decade. Rain fell consistently for about seven days in December.

It brought about a spell of unusually cool weather.

The lowest daily minimum temperature during the period was 22 deg C on Dec 11, said MSS.

The daily maximum temperature during the monsoon surge episode ranged between 26.5 deg C and 29.9 deg C on almost all days, it added.

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Environment