‘It will be drier come February’

Fredolin: ‘Patterns consistent with the effects of El Nino’, (Right) Prof Azizan: ‘Where it rains depends on the monsoon trough’.

PETALING JAYA: The wet weather brought on by the northeast monsoon is expected to taper off in February, leading to drier conditions for the peninsula, say experts.

Climatologist and Academy of Sciences Malaysia fellow Dr Fredolin Tangang said the monsoon, which started in November, typically lasts until March.

He said the Apec Climate Centre in Busan, South Korea, has issued a forecast that wet conditions could be expected to persist for the peninsula in January before becoming drier for the northern states beginning February.

Rainfall would also be lower in February for Terengganu and Kelantan, he said.

“However, this is not the case for Sarawak, which is expected to remain wet for the next three months.

“Sabah, however, is forecast to be drier than normal for the next three months.

“These patterns and those of the regional ones are consistent with the effects of El Nino as it decays,” Fredolin said when contacted yesterday.

He added that the year-to-year variation must, however, be considered and the situation starting this January remains to be seen.

There is still the possibility of another round of floods during the monsoon, he said.

Fredolin also said the situation to watch for next year is the drier-than-normal condition predicted for Sabah.

“I think it is good for the authorities to take precautions and the necessary action in issues related to forest fires as well as water resources. There could be heatwaves as well.

“During an El Nino, it is typical to experience these conditions as the El Nino decays from January to April or May.

“This could also be the case for northern Peninsular Malaysia,” he said.

Meanwhile, National Antarctica Research Centre meteorological expert Prof Datuk Dr Azizan Abu Samah said the north-east monsoon is characterised by wind flow.

“Where it rains depends on the monsoon trough,” he said.

The trough is offshore of the east coast during the initial phase of the monsoon during November and December, thus bringing heavy rains to the east coast states as well as southern Thailand, he said.

“This monsoon trough is not static but follows the sun, so it moves slowly southward with the rain belt.

“By January or February, it is offshore of Sarawak, so Sarawak will have its maximum rainfall during these two months,” he said, adding that with the trough moving south, the northeast and northwest of the peninsula will experience the usual drier weather.

Prof Azizan added that normally with the El Nino, between 10% and 20% of less rain could be expected.

“So one would expect that especially for the northern bit of the peninsula to experience drier conditions in February,” he said.

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Northeast Monsoon , El Nino , Weather


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