If you felt the scorching sun and the dry weather the past few days, it is because Malaysia is currently experiencing the south-west monsoon. The Malaysia Meteorological Department (METMalaysia) said that this season will continue from now until mid-September.
According to Bernama, METMalaysia said that there are no heatwaves being detected in the country so far and they are constantly monitoring weather patterns, including the status of heatwaves throughout the country and relay information to the relevant agencies for enforcement action and preparations for disaster.
“Based on constant monitoring of heatwaves, until today (21 July), there is no area in the country which has been exposed to any heatwaves.” they said.
In addition, METMalaysia said that the department’s meteorological stations had not recorded any temperatures higher than 35ºC for three consecutive days and they do not expect temperature to exceed 40ºC too.
The highest temperature ever recorded in Malaysia was 40.1ºC when the strongest El Nino wave hit Malaysia back in 1998, as reported by Harian Metro.
Nonetheless, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Department of Earth Sciences and Environment head and professor of climatology, Dr Fredolin Tangang said that the current hot and dry season in Malaysia is not a new or extraordinary phenomenon.
He said that Malaysia have always been associated with climate variability, which is the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) and El Nino and the MJO is a common phenomenon, occurring once in 20 to 60 days.
He added that during the Southwest monsoon, it can elevate the temperature by two to three degrees, to around below 40ºC depending on locality.
He then said that this season is not an unusual heatwave, as the MJO is a recurring phenomenon that moderates our wet-dry temperatures.
Another climatologist, Dr Renard Siew added that this heatwave is nothing new but it recurs annually with variations. Additionally, he said that ‘urban heat island effect’ is one of the reasons for the rise in temperature too.
He said that from a climate change standpoint, it causes ‘inter variability of rainfall’ (areas that used to get high volumes of water no longer get as much rain as they used to).
Likewise, the MJO is a regular occurrence but Siew notes that this heatwave may have to be monitored for temperature fluctuations.
Responding on the weather change, MET Malaysia said that there could be heavy downpours, strong winds, and high humidity in mid-September after the MJO is over.
This is a result of Malaysia going into a transitional monsoon period too.
During this period, states on the west cost and inland of Peninsular Malaysia, west coast of Sabah, and western and central regions of Sarawak are expected to be experiencing heavy downpour too.