Sea levels in Singapore 14cm higher than 50 years ago: MSS

A group of men stand at the edge of a jetty at Singapore's East Coast beach, to fish as dawn breaks on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018 in Singapore. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

SINGAPORE — Sea levels in Singapore have risen an average of 14cm compared with 50 years ago, while last year’s average temperature of 28.4 deg C equalled that for 2016 - the warmest on record.

Meanwhile, the amount of rain that fell over the country last year was the third lowest since 1869, according to the Meteorological Service Singapore’s (MSS) annual climate assessment, released on Monday (23 March).

In its report, MSS said tide gauge records at Sembawang, Sultan Shoal and Raffles Light House show sea levels to have risen by about 2.12mm, 2.78mm and 3.55mm per year respectively since the 1970s.

“Singapore, a low lying densely populated island state, is highly vulnerable to sea level rise in a warming climate,” it said.

A warmer, drier Singapore

MSS said Singapore’s average monthly temperature rose for 23 consecutive months since February 2018. And the 28.4 deg C average for last year was 0.9 deg C higher than the 1981 to 2010 long-term average.

“Four of the past five years are among the top 10 warmest years on record with respect to annual (average) temperature, since temperature records began in 1929,” said MSS.

The 27.94 deg C average temperature for the last decade (2010 to 2019) was also the highest on record. The previous warmest decade was from 2009 to 2018 when the average temperature was 27.89 deg C.

“Above-average temperatures were recorded in all months of 2019, with August (29.1 deg C) and September (29.0 deg C) breaking the record for the warmest August and September respectively. The previous records were 28.9 deg C (August 2016) and 28.8 deg C (September 1997). November 2019 (28.0 deg C) also tied the record for warmest November,” it added.

Meanwhile, the total rainfall for last year was the third lowest. The Changi climate station recorded just 1368mm of rain, which is below the 1981-2010 long-term average. The lowest rainfall since records began in 1869 was 1119mm in 1997 and 1267mm in 2015.

“During the year, the driest periods were from January to March and July to September where rainfall was significantly below normal. For the period from July to September, Singapore entered a rainfall deficit situation where monthly rainfall of more than 40 per cent below normal was recorded in each of these three months,” said MSS.

Global warming

In its report, MSS noted that the rise in sea levels and average temperatures in Singapore highlighted the global warming phenomenon.

On sea levels, MSS pointed out that the warming oceans and the melting of glaciers, Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets contribute to sea level rise.

Meanwhile, on rising temperatures, it said, “Globally, most parts of the world recorded above average temperatures and the global average temperature for 2019 was about 0.5 deg C above the 1981-2010 long-term average and 1.1 deg C above the pre-industrial baseline (1850-1900).

“This is the 2nd warmest year on record globally; and the past 5 years (2015-2019) and past ten years (2010-2019) were the highest on record. Since 1980s, each decade has been warmer than the previous one, highlighting the ongoing global warming.”

The MSS report can be found on or here.

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