‘Wah lau, so hot!’ — Singapore’s changing weather in 6 heat maps

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Is it really getting hotter in Singapore? The darkening of the heat map in recent years seem to suggest so.

You feel it instinctively as you go about your daily routines — man, it’s really getting warmer in Singapore. But what does the historical data actually say?Data.gov.sg has some charts based on the data from the National Environment Agency (NEA), but they are not too reader-friendly. So I had a go at re-working some of them.

The first heat map above shows the average monthly temperatures from 1982 to 2018, as recorded at the Changi Climate Station. Original data set here.

I’ve taken out the values for a cleaner look at the shift from left to right, with a darkening of the chart pointing to warmer months being recorded in recent years. Here’s the same chart with the values restored:

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Data for Nov and Dec 2018 are not yet available. Temperature in degree Celsius (°C).

The sea of numbers make the chart a little hard to read. But a simple comparison of the extreme columns, say, between 1982 and 2017 or 2018, would point to a general rise in average monthly temperatures in Singapore.

According to Singapore’s National Climate Change Secretariat, the country’s annual mean temperatures rose at an average rate of 0.25°C per decade from 1948 to 2016. It projects daily mean temperatures to rise by 1.4°C to 4.6°C in future, and more warm days-nights from February to September through the rest of this century.

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The highest temperature recorded in a given month was 36.0°C on March 1998, according to NEA’s data. That’s not a record you’d wanna break, even if it seems inevitable….

Speaking of records, the lowest temperature recorded in a given month was 20.2°C in March 2000 (original data set here). If it’s true that climate change results in more weather and temperature extremes, could Singapore hit sub-20°C at some point?

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Temperatures in Singapore have dipped below 21°C just three times in the last 36 years, in July 1994, March 2000, and October 2013.

And of course, we whine about the rain as much as we complain about the heat. Here’s how much rain (in mm) we’ve been getting on a monthly basis since 1982:

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One last chart, this time to show the number of rainy days per month since 1982:

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Rain or shine, it looks like you are gonna need to bring that brolly along more often going forward.

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