Environmental News Archive

An almost weekly update of environmental news, particularly marine updates, with occasional splatters of transportation, indigenous, ideas of sustainability and sustainable development from around the world.


Cold snap in S'pore

By Sumathi V Selvaretnam and Tania Tan
14 March 2008
Straits Times

TALK about a chill in the air.

Thermostats here are being turned up as Singaporeans throw on sweaters and jackets to beat the 'coldest' March in 74 years: The average temperature so far this month is 25.6 deg C, a tick higher than the 25 deg C in 1934.

Singapore dipped to its coldest of 19.4 deg C on Jan 30, 1934.

On Thursday night, the mercury dipped to 21.8 deg C - about the average day-time temperature in wintry Hong Kong.

The 'cold snap' has resulted in some things one does not typically see - or hear - in Singapore. Children bundled up like Eskimos and office workers coming to work in woollies.

But Solutions architect Sivaram Shunmugam, 29, likes it cool.

'Normally it is hot, humid and uncomfortable. Not now. Finally, a temperature I can live with!' he said.

Neither is Colin Wan, 34, complaining.

'It's like a regular English day. I get to wear winter clothes like my jumpers and cardigans that I thought I would never need in Singapore,' said the advertising executive from Britain who has been living here for five years.

The cool spell stems from the prolonged heavy rain and dense cloud, said Associate Professor Matthias Roth of the National University of Singapore's Department of Geography.

'It's more difficult for sunlight to penetrate the thick cloud cover - so the ground cools after a few days,' he explained.

The freakishly wet weather is due to a strong La Nina effect, explained Dr Roth. Caused by a cycle of cooling air over the Pacific Ocean, the weather phenomenon usually results in cooler, wetter weather.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) says next week will continue to be wet, with moist winds blowing in from the ocean.