PETALING JAYA: The weather pattern has been very unpredictable, and so has the weatherman’s predictions.
After forecasting a dry spell for months recently, the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) now says Malaysia is expected to experience wetter weather.
Explaining this, director-general Muhammad Helmi Abdullah said that Malaysia was currently experiencing moderate La Nina, which is expected to last until the year’s end.
He said this is based on the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (Enso), a recurring climate pattern involving changes in the temperature of waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
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“Although we are currently experiencing moderate La Nina, its levels can change during the period. La Nina at moderate levels causes the region in the western Pacific including our country to be wetter.
“Consequently the rainfall distribution can be higher than normal,” he said.
Helmi said La Nina’s impact is unique and different for each episode.
“For example, there is a scientific study that shows strong La Nina can cause the distribution of extreme wet precipitation in Peninsular Malaysia to decrease between December and February,” he said.
It was reported that the south-west monsoon from May 14 to mid-September would cause most places in the country to experience days without rain or with low rainfall.
MetMalaysia had said that a prolonged period without rain could cause the temperature to increase significantly, with the average daily temperature nationwide expected to range between 32°C and 34°C.
“During this phenomenon, the wind does not blow dominantly from the south-west, instead the wind is relatively weak and sometimes there is a concentration of wind in certain areas.
“This wind pattern causes wetter weather conditions, especially in the north and west of the Peninsula, Sarawak and western Sabah,” he said, adding that Malaysians should be aware of weather changes and get updates from the web, myCuaca app or social media.
Climate expert Prof Datuk Dr Azizan Abu Samah said the forecast by the Asean Specialist Meteorological Centre based in Singapore, reports that Malaysia and the whole southern Asean region will experience above-normal rainfall from June to August.
“We are now in the south-west monsoon season, a dry period. In Indonesia, this is the time when burning begins, causing haze normally visible in July.
“But the moderate La Nina strengthens the easterly wind which disrupts the southwesterly flow. This contributes to the more frequent monsoon breaks observed during the current south-west monsoon,” he said, adding that monsoon breaks last for four to five days.
He said La Nina was earlier predicted to last until August, but the latest predictions by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that this was expected to continue until the end of the year.
He raised concerns on the possibility of the east coast areas being hit by massive floods given that La Nina is expected to bring 10% to 20% more rainfall.
“If we are still under La Nina until the end of the year, we can expect a lot more rain than usual, so this could cause flash floods.
“Major floods are associated with cold surges that occur during the northeast monsoon season which is expected to start in November.
“With La Nina, we will have more intense cold surges, so the possibility of massive floods is there,” he said.
National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) director-general Datuk Dr Aminuddin Hassim said his agency is actively monitoring the current weather situation and is ready to coordinate action with the district and state disaster secretariats if required.