SINGAPORE: The year 2018 saw a mean annual temperature of 27.9 degrees Celsius, making it the joint eighth warmest year on record, the Meteorological Service (MSS) said on Tuesday (Jan 15).
This temperature – also recorded in 2014, 2009 and 2005 – is 0.4 degrees Celsius higher than the 1981 to 2001 long-term average, and 0.2 degrees Celsius warmer than 2017’s mean annual temperature of 27.7 degrees Celsius.
The warmest year on record is 2016, when a mean annual temperature of 28.4 degrees Celsius was recorded. Temperature records started in 1929.
“Above-average temperatures were recorded in all months in 2018 with the exception of January, when Singapore experienced an extended cool spell on 10 to 14 January,” the agency said.
Notably, MSS said December 2018 was the second warmest December in Singapore, with a monthly mean temperature of 27.6 degrees Celsius.
The second half of the month was particularly warm, it added, noting that Dec 28 and 30’s daily maximum temperature of 33.8 degrees Celsius tied the December day record set on Dec 2, 1948.
“Singapore’s top ten warmest years have all occurred in the past 25 years, and eight of them were recorded in this century,” MSS said, adding that the last decade from 2009 to 2018 marks Singapore’s warmest decade, with a mean temperature of 27.89 degrees Celsius.
“These are signs of the long-term warming trend in Singapore.”
NOTABLE WEATHER EVENTS
But it was not all sticky weather.
A monsoon surge from Jan 10 to 14 brought five consecutive days of cool weather across the island, with the daily minimum temperature dipping to 21.2 degrees Celsius. “This was the longest cool spell Singapore has experienced in at least two decades,” MSS said.
A monsoon surge refers to the strengthening of north-easterly winds blowing from a strong high-pressure system over the northern Asian continent toward the South China Sea.
Late January also brought some unusual weather events.
Intense thunderstorms brought rain and hailstones over northern parts of Singapore on Jan 30, with the MSS noting that “this is relatively rare in the tropics where hailstones usually melt before reaching the ground”.
And on Jan 31, a waterspout – also associated with an intense thunderstorm – was spotted off the east coast. “Strong wind gusts from the waterspout blew sail boats on the beach a few meters inland,” MSS added.
During the year, heavy rains and strong wind gusts from intense thunderstorms also caused several incidents of flash floods, fallen trees and damage to property, MSS said.
On Mar 30 in particular, strong wind gusts from an intense thunderstorm caused “substantial damage” to chicken farms in the Lim Chu Kang area, it added. “The wind gust of 133.3 km/h recorded at the nearby Tengah station on that day was the strongest wind gust recorded since 2010.”
NOT SO NOTABLE RAINFALL
The total annual rainfall in 2018, however, was far from spectacular.
MSS said the figure recorded in most parts of the island was close to average, while at the Changi climate station, it recorded well below average monthly rainfall in some months, particularly from February to April.
“This contributed to an annual total rainfall of 1,708mm, 21 per cent below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average,” MSS stated.