WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE WEATHER?
According to a new study, Singapore's rainfall has been getting less over the last 30 years and more extreme weather changes are predicted to hit the region. The long-term average rainfall has been 2,346mm per year.
Between 1907 and 1967, it was wetter - with around 80mm of rain more than average. But for the last 30 years, there has been less rainfall - 40mm less than average.
WHY IS THAT?
Some experts pointed to factors such as Singapore's rapid industrialisation during the 1970s to explain the pattern of decreasing rainfall. Said Professor Lim Hock, founding director of Temasek Laboratories: "The significant change in the landscape and ground cover condition of Singapore can affect the local distribution of clouds and rain, and hence the observed reduction in rainfall."
WHEN DID IT START GETTING DRYER?
The study looked at weather patterns over the last 100 years to see the bigger picture. For example, over the last 50 years, there were 169 wet days (where there is more than 0.2mm of rain) on average in Singapore each year, and temperature variations in the last half-century confirm a trend of temperatures rising more in the last 20 years.
WHERE ELSE IS WEATHER CHANGING?
The rest of South-east Asia is expected to have less rain in the future. But for now, the region is battling floods. Tropical storm Molave has caused flooding that shut down schools, offices and the stock exchange in the Philippine capital, Manila. And five South Koreans were killed and hundreds left homeless when rain lashed the south of the country and mudslides hit the city of Busan.
WHO WILL BE AFFECTED?
The United Nations predicts that by 2025, 1.8 billion people worldwide will be living in conditions of "absolute water scarcity". Associate Professor Ho Juay Choy, from the Energy Studies Institute at the National University of Singapore, said that global warming predictions point to South-east Asia suffering from "water stress", which refers to periods of extreme drought, brought about by a lack of fresh water supply.
HOW CAN WE DEAL WITH IT?
Even though the weather patterns are changing, Singapore's integrated approach to water management means it is well equipped to cope. Professor Liong Shie-Yui, principal research fellow at NUS' Tropical Marine Science Institute, said: "For example, desalination and Newater - sources which have the advantage of being independent of fluctuations in rainfall - have been added to its water supply."
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