Tag Archives: global warming

Securing Water in a Harsher Climate

El Niño sparks concerns of dry taps in Malaysia. And as global temperatures increase, so will droughts and heatwaves, experts say. In response, government agencies are coordinating water assets and integrating water management for better water security.

EL NIÑO is back, casting its fiery spell upon Malaysia once more.

Last observed in 2019, this natural phenomenon is often synonymous with hot and dry weather in Malaysia. During particularly strong El Niño events in 1997 and 2015, millions of Malaysians endured water rationing – some for months – as dams dried up.

Now, experts are sounding the alarm as they predict this El Niño weather might last until March 2024 and intensify. To shield ourselves from the impacts of El Niño, it is now more vital than ever to ensure our water resources are well prepared. But can we?

(Photo: Air Hitam Dam is one of three dams on Penang Island. Authorities had to do cloud-seeding in June 2023 to replenish the dropping water levels at the dam. | Image from Google Earth Pro, June 22, 2022)


Explainer: El Niño and Southeast Asia

Weather happens because nature seeks stability. Excess heat, moisture or pressure in one place will move to fill gaps elsewhere. Imagine pouring water into a pool: the water level will rise instantly at one end before it flows to the lower ends of the pool.

What holds true for a pool also holds true for the oceans. At the Pacific Ocean, heat, winds and moisture interact in a major climate phenomenon called the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). ENSO alternates among three phases, of which El Niño is the warm phase. 

(Image: This year, sea surface temperature in the eastern Pacific Ocean has been warming up more than average. | Image by European Space Agency)


What’s in store, El Niño?

El Nino reliably warms up Malaysia but its impact on rainfall is more nuanced and spotty. Still, as global warming drives more extreme weather events, experts foresee El Niño causing more droughts too.

LAST MONTH must have felt like a furnace for many people across the world. Hundreds of millions suffered heatwaves in India, Europe and the United States. Dozens died. Since 1850, humans have waged world wars and landed rovers on Mars, but we have never stifled in a warmer month than July 2023.

July also marked the return of a natural climate phenomenon called El Niño. Last observed in 2019, El Niño tends to lead to warmer and drier months in tropical Asia. Scientists expect this El Niño to last through March 2024. 

(Photo: At its Weather Operation Centre in Selangor, the Malaysian Meteorological Department constantly monitors the country’s weather using satellite and radar data. | Pic by YH Law)


What Way If Not the PJD Highway?

While many Petaling Jaya residents don’t want an elevated highway through their community, they are still keen to drive. This is Part 2; read Part 1 for an interactive trip along the PJD highway.

TRAFFIC jams are a painful part of life in the Klang Valley. The Malaysian way to ease traffic, however, appears to focus largely on mega infrastructure: huge, tolled highways that cost hundreds of millions of ringgit to build.

In 2022 alone, two elevated highways were completed: the Damansara-Shah Alam Elevated Highway (DASH) and the first phase of the Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Elevated Highway (SUKE). 

And the government is evaluating the proposal of yet another elevated highway: the Petaling Jaya Dispersal Link Expressway (PJD). However, unlike the earlier highways, the PJD would pass through some of the most crowded residential and commercial areas in Petaling Jaya.



氣溫升高預期將摧毀珊瑚礁,科學家急於提出對策。这是 “亚洲水危机” 联合项目的部分报道; 英文原文林玠均翻译。


珊瑚礁生态学家阿芬迪 (Affendi Yang Amri) 在他长达27年的职业生涯中,一直很讨厌“珊瑚复育”这个概念。


然而2018年,联合国政府间气候变化专门委员会 (IPCC) 的科学家警告,全球珊瑚即将崩溃。

(馬來西亞登嘉樓浪中島 (Lang Tengah Island) 夏季海灣的環礁. | 摄影: KL Chew)


Building Arks for Corals

Scientists scramble as rising sea temperatures are expected to decimate coral reefs.  A story in the Asia’s Water Crisis project.

CORAL REEF ecologist Affendi Yang Amri had hated the idea of coral restoration for most of his 27-year career.

Wary that opportunists would ramp up destructive coastal works if corals could be “restored” elsewhere later, he preferred protecting existing corals rather than fixing damaged ones.

But in 2018, scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned of an imminent coral collapse worldwide. 

(Summer Bay House Reef at Lang Tengah Island, Terengganu. | Photo: KL Chew)