Cities near equator can expect extreme weather patterns

PETALING JAYA: 40.1°C in Chuping, Perlis (a small town known for its large sugar cane plantations) was recorded the highest temperature in Malaysia.

The last high temperature recorded was on April 9, 1998 in which the global El Nino phenomenon struck Malaysia, according to the Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia).

21 years later and in April this year, 21 areas were put under heatwave alert by MetMalaysia for having temperatures of between 35°C and 37°C for three consecutive days.

Kuala Lumpur is among the cities that are projected to have more dramatic changes in weather patterns.

According to a study that was conducted by scientists in ETH Zurich, Switzerland, 520 cities in the world named tropical metropolis such as Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Singapore were those that would see unprecedented climate conditions by 2050.

It was reported that the study looked at the variability in temperature and precipitation, among others.

Cities closer to the equator will likely see more extremes of droughts and rainfall.

The country was projected to witness an increase in average annual temperature of 0.6°C to 1°C by 2030, adding that extreme climate change would affect the Malaysian economy and the population’s livelihood, according to Klima Action Malaysia representative Reza Abedi.

 “Oil palm, an important crop in Malaysia, will be affected by climate change. A study by the University of Minnesota found that oil palm yields have already decreased by 13.4% due to climate change, ” he said. Reza said in a report by Malaysia to the United Nations in 2018 on climate change, the flood areas of river basins in Peninsular Malaysia were likely to increase in the coming years.

He also added that other states that would likely face more severe droughts and dry spells are Pahang and Sarawak.

Reza said that some measures should be taken against climate change like reforestation, restoring ecosystems and having a climate resilience assessment as a precondition for approval of new infrastructure projects.

Meanwhile, Organisation for the Preservation of Natural Heritage Malaysia president Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil said that Malaysia would experience extreme climate change if the environment was not cared for.

 “If Malaysia does not put a stop to existing unethical logging and mining practices, the trajectory of its climate will head into extreme dry and wet climate conditions. “If present conditions prevail, we will see more and more extreme incidents of tropical weather, ” she said.

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