No, you’re not crazy, Singapore’s weather is getting hotter than ever before. And, it just might be affecting your sleep, too.
Let’s look at tonight's forecast, for example, which is set for a low of deg C.
That would make it hotter than the same date last year, which recorded a minimum temperature of undefined deg C. You may need to blast the air-con again tonight.
Yes, it is going to be another hot, and possibly sweaty, night ahead. And, according to The Straits Times’ analysis of the past 40 years of temperature data, it is going to keep getting hotter.
For context, compare tonight's forecast with Mar 15, 1983, which had a low of deg C, to see how it ranks among similar days that we’ve experienced.
Tonight could possibly be the hottest Mar 15 thus far.
To put a concrete number to how much hotter or colder, or anomalous a temperature was, climatologists compare it with a long-term average over a period of 30 years (1991 to 2020).
Tonight will be than the average Mar 15.
To get the bigger picture, ST looks at temperature data over the past few decades.
Is Singapore actually getting hotter?
Let’s zoom out to examine temperatures here across the last 14,610 days and how anomalous they were in the past 40 years.
Yearly average temperatures, hotter nights, and changes in the monthly average temperature all show that Singapore is getting hotter.
Temperatures can fluctuate daily and give the impression of unusually hotter or colder weather.
In order to smooth this out and show the long-term trend, we can look at the average temperature per year and how much they deviate from the long-term average.
A rising trend is apparent; the average temperature for the past decade, from 2013 to 2022, rose to a record high of 28 deg C.
This is an increase of 0.75 deg C compared with a decade from 30 years ago, between 1983 and 1992.
Also, natural variations caused by climate phenomena, like El Nino or La Nina, can cause fluctuations in temperature data.
These result in the ebbs and flows you see in the chart.
For example, the spikes in 1997 to 1998 and 2015 to 2016 were caused by El Nino events, during which Singapore received less rainfall than normal.
On the contrary, during La Nina events during 1999 to 2000, 2007 to 2008 and 2011 to 2012, there was more rainfall, bringing about a temporary cooling effect.
However, this does not reverse the long-term warming trend.
Sweatier days and nights?
Can you recall how many days or nights were a tad too warm for your own comfort?
As a proxy for temperatures at night, let’s switch to monitor daily minimum temperatures and how anomalous they were.
These were the nights when temperatures were within the top 10 per cent hottest nights from 1991 to 2020.
And the number of warmer than usual nights have been increasing over the years.
In 2019, Singapore’s joint hottest year on record with 2016, we had to endure a total of 112 warm nights, the highest in the past 40 years and making up almost a third of the year.
Toastier winters and more sizzling summers?
In order to do away with any seasonal patterns, we could focus on the average temperature during a specific month, and its changes over the years.
Let's take May as an example, which for the past 40 years has been the hottest month of the year.
The month of May has seen its average temperature increase through the years. This trend is even more apparent when the fluctuations are removed.
This also applies to both the minimum and maximum temperatures. Even these have seen a long-term trend upwards over the past 40 years.
How do the other months fare?
A similar tilting shape is also duplicated in the rest of the months.
So there you have it. Singapore is getting hotter and you're not going crazy. But is that it? Should we just give up and boil in our beds?
Definitely not. You see, what happens in the future depends on all of us. Don't sweat the big stuff. We can all take small steps to cut emissions to help limit global warming.
Think about using energy efficient appliances, including air-cons with five ticks. Better insulation for your home also keeps it cooler for longer.
At night, improve the airflow in your room and avoid big meals and alcohol before bed.
More trees in your neighbourhood keeps the temperature down, too. Sweet dreams!