2016 the hottest year ever recorded here

Experts say this year is likely to be cooler than last year, but still warmer than average.
Experts say this year is likely to be cooler than last year, but still warmer than average.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Eight of the 10 hottest years ever recorded in Singapore all occurred in this century, with 2016 topping the chart, the Meteorological Services Singapore (MSS) said in a statement yesterday.

This is consistent with ongoing global warming as well as the El Nino weather event from 2015 to the first half of 2016, MSS added.

Released yesterday on World Meteorological Day, the report reviews significant weather and climate conditions seen in Singapore in the past year and provides a perspective of its current situation with that of historical records.

The report highlighted several records that were broken last year. The average temperature of 28.4 deg C last year surpassed the three-way tie in 2015, 1998 and 1997, of 28.3 deg C. January, April and August last year also broke records for being the hottest of their respective months.

Meanwhile, rainfall patterns last year were ''less remarkable'' than the temperature, said the MSS.

nwhile, rainfall patterns last year were "less remarkable" than the temperature, said the MSS.

The only standout was March, the driest March since Singapore started recording rainfall in 1869.

The report also mentioned that last year's low water levels at Linggiu Reservoir, which supplies around half of Singapore's water demand, could have been a result of the warm and dry conditions in the region.Water levels at Linggiu Reservoir hit a historic low of 20 per cent last October. This rose to more than 30 per cent in January.

Experts said this year is likely to be cooler than last year - as El Nino is not likely to play a part this year - but still warmer than average.

The trends reported followed climate patterns around the world.

"As last year was the warmest recorded year in the world, it was no surprise that Singapore did not buck that trend," said Assistant Professor Winston Chow of the National University of Singapore's geography department.

As most of the warmest years have occurred in this century, research scientist Erik Velasco from the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology said they were clear evidence of climate change. Urban centres like Singapore are likely to fare worse as urbanisation will turn up the heat by around 5 deg C.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2017, with the headline '2016 the hottest year ever recorded here'. Print Edition | Subscribe