The Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) has revealed that the year 2023 marked Singapore’s joint fourth-warmest year since record-keeping began in 1929, with exceptionally high temperatures recorded in May and October, breaking records for those respective months. In addition to the heat, the year also earned the distinction of being the seventh-wettest in over four decades, with annual rainfall surpassing the long-term average by 13.1 per cent.
Throughout the year 2023, Singapore experienced soaring temperatures that contributed to the joint fourth-warmest status in the historical record. May and October, in particular, stood out as months that recorded sweltering temperatures, setting new benchmarks for heat in those periods. The unusual warmth in these months led to rising concern among climate scientists and environmentalists, highlighting the ongoing challenges posed by climate change.
In May, temperatures soared beyond previous records for the month, creating discomfort for residents and raising awareness about the potential impacts of rising temperatures on public health, infrastructure, and ecosystems. Whereas, at Changi climate station, the annual average temperature in the year 2023 was 28.2 degrees Celsius, tying with the years 1997 and 2015. But eventually, this fell behind the warmest years of 2019 and 2016 at 28.4 degrees C, which was followed by 1998 at 28.3 degrees C. The weatherman asserted that at the climate station, the previous nine months of the year clocked above the average temperatures. Around 20 temperature-related records were either matched or broken in Singapore, which includes the highest daily temperature of 37 degrees C which was recorded on May 13, 2023, in Ang Mo Kio, which eventually tied with that recorded in Tengah in 1983.
May 2023 with a mean temperature of 29.5 degrees C matched that of March 1998, for the warmest month on record. But the month of October was exceptionally warm as this month recorded 29 degrees C of average temperature. This record topped the previous record for October 2002 by 0.3 degrees C. MSS also said that this record surpassed the long-term average record for October by a wide margin of 1.1 degrees C. The findings from the MSS report align with global concerns about the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events driven by climate change. As Singapore grapples with the consequences of a warming climate, the government and environmental agencies are likely to intensify efforts to mitigate the effects of rising temperatures, implement sustainable practices, and raise public awareness about climate resilience.
Despite the higher temperature Singapore also experienced cooler temperatures than the usual normal in the first three months of the year 2023. March of that year became the coolest one in the last decade. The extremities in temperature were quite influenced by the debilitating La Nina conditions. The weatherman said that in early 2023, this situation typically brings wetter and colder conditions to Southeast Asia. The previous record of 159.3 mm of rainfall was broken by the daily total rainfall of 225.5 mm that was recorded at Kallang on February 28, 2023. MSS also asserted that the wet weather was followed by El Nino conditions, that usually result in drier and hotter conditions in the region, during the second half of that year. It was seen that there were months with unusually low rainfall in 2023 and they were April, May, August, and October.
The latest climate change study by the National Environment Agency anticipated that the temperature would escalate up to 5 degrees C by the end of the century and daily average temperatures in Singapore are set to rise further. The revelation about 2023’s climatic conditions serves as a call to action for policymakers, urban planners, and citizens to prioritize sustainability and resilience in the face of a changing climate