Sunday, September 26

Abnormal heavy rain phenomenon can recur, says expert

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KUALA LUMPUR: The disastrous floods which hit some states last year are expected to recur more frequently and with greater intensity as a result of global warming and the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) phenomenon, says climatologist and oceanographer Professor Dr Fredolin T Tangang.

He said climate change due to global warming was causing a worsening of the phenomenon.

The media had previously reported that the MJO phenomenon was a factor causing heavy rains in Malaysia.

MJO is an element in the tropical weather pattern which occurs once in 20 to 60 days as compared to the El Nino phenomenon which happens in three to seven years.

It is a large-scale weather pattern phenomenon which occurs due to temperature changes in the Indian Ocean, affecting atmospheric moisture.

However, when the MJO meets with the northeast monsoon and a cold surge from the north, the result will be exceptionally heavy rainfall.

Fredolin, who is a lecturer at the Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), said there were already studies which proved that the increase in global temperature caused phenomena like El Nino, La Nina, and MJO to be stronger and more frequent.

“This means that in future, in Malaysia, there will be more frequent extreme rain and droughts caused by these phenomena,” he told Bernama recently.

He said according to the Fifth Synthesis report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in November 2014, the increased frequency of extreme weather and climate event phenomena were connected to weather change.

“An increase of one degree in global temperature would increase the atmospheric moisture by seven per cent, thus increasing the frequency of extreme weather episodes which are worse than we experienced, last year,” he said.

Fredolin stressed that the IPCC report also stated that the average global temperature had increased by 0.87’C in 100 years.

He added that his studies showed the heavy floods in Johor in 2006 resulting from exceptionally heavy rains were caused by the MJO.

He said data showed that rainfall distribution in Johor was only 29mm in an hour, but between Dec 21 to 24 last year, Kelantan recorded an increase in rainfall of up to 35mm in one hour, caused by the same phenomenon. — Bernama