2016 is hottest year on record for Singapore and the world

People shielding themselves from the sun's glare with umbrellas in Bishan Central on April 2, 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The year 2016 has been the hottest year on record globally - and for Singapore too, reveals an update from the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS).

The mean annual temperature recorded at the Changi climate station - which is used as a reference station - is 28.4 deg C as of Dec 29.

This exceeds the current record of 28.3 deg C set in 1997, 1998 and 2015.

"Temperatures soared in the first half of 2016 due to the effects of a very strong El Nino," said an MSS spokesman, referring to the weather phenomenon associated with prolonged warmer weather in this part of the world.

"The temperatures remained well above the long-term average for the rest of the year. New monthly records for the hottest January, April and August were set in 2016."

The El Nino phenomenon had also caused widespread coral bleaching, more severe in duration compared to two other major bleaching events in 1998 and 2010.

The weatherman also said that rain is expected for the first two weeks of 2017, although it is likely to be less wet compared to the rainy weather experienced in the past two weeks.

Thundery showers are still expected mostly in the afternoon on five to seven days over the next fortnight, and could extend into the evening on a few days.

However, the rainfall for the first half of January is expected to be slightly below normal, said the MSS.

Earlier this year, climate scientists had predicted that the La Nina weather phenomenon, associated with more rain in this region, would kick in in the third quarter of this year.

However, only weak La Nina conditions were observed since October, the MSS told The Straits Times.

Its effects were not considered significant, noted research scientist Erik Velasco from the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology. "In fact, the rainfall has been a little bit below the normal for this time of the year. The current La Niña event is disappearing quickly, in following weeks it would have gone," noted Dr Velasco, who studies climatology in urban environments.

Mr Chris Cheng, who is from the United States-based Climate Reality non-government organisation that studies climate issues, believes the year 2017 will likely be slightly cooler and wetter than 2016. "However, with accelerated warming, we will likely see the hottest year record being broken again before 2020, or in the next El Nino year."

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