Sunday, February 21, 2010

'Dry Sabah' for two more months

The current dry spell in Sabah that has sparked off widespread forest and bush fires is likely to persist for at least another two months.

"My expectation is that this dry condition is to continue till April for this state," says the chief weatherman in Sabah, Abdul Malik Tussin.

Abdul Malik checks a temperature measuring instrument at the Tanjung Aru weather station.
Malik, the state director of the Malaysian Meteorological Department told Malaysian Mirror here over the weekend that the state is feeling the tail end of the Northeast Monsoon, a climatic season that normally falls from November to March.

According to him, this monsoon season started with heavy rainfall, particularly in December and January when certain districts in the state like Kota Marudu experienced serious flooding due to heavy rainfall.

"When this monsoon comes, wet season is expected, not only for Sabah but for the whole of Malaysia, and it is only towards the later part of this monsoon that we experience a dry season, as we do now," he explained.

Malik disclosed that Sabah is also feeling the effects of the El Nino phenomenon that started to be felt globally since June last year.

The name, El Nino, meaning "The Christ Child" in Spanish language, was given by fishermen of Peru in South America to an increase in the sea surface temperatures of the Pacific basin.

At the same time, there is an increase in the sea level atmospheric pressure in the western Pacific, often referred to as the Southern Oscillation.

Hence, the term El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is often used to describe the basin-wide changes in the air-sea interaction in the equatorial Pacific region.

Malik said that the ENSO atmospheric condition is only felt moderately now in Sabah and is due to end with the Spring Season (March.-May).

Drink plenty of water

In Kota Kinabalu, the level of rainfall recorded during the first three weeks of February is only at 0.4 millimetre (mm) as compared to 210mm in the whole of January.

The same pattern of little rainfall is recorded at the other principal stations of Sandakan, Tawau, Kudat, Keningau and Labuan.

He advised the public to have a higher intake of water during this dry weather season and to stay under the shed as far as possible.

Firemen being kept busy throughout this dry weather season trying to control widespread bush fires such as this one along the Papar-Beaufort highway.
He also called on residents in Sabah to take heed of warnings issued lately by the Sabah Forestry and the Environment departments against any form of open burning and other actions that could cause the spread of forest or bush fires.

Meanwhile, Malik dispelled the notion that Sabah is undergoing a "hot season", saying that temperature records show otherwise.

None of the weather stations in Sabah recorded temperatures that reached 34 Celsius (C).

In fact, statistics provided by the Meteorological Department show that towns in other parts of Malaysia have recorded higher temperature levels.

For instance, the maximum temperature at Chuping in the state of Perlis shot up to 36.7C on Feb. 17 and 36.6C at Alor Setar in Kedah the same day.

Cities and towns in Sarawak have also experienced slightly higher temperatures than those in Sabah.

On Feb. 18, the maximum level reached at Seri Aman was 34.3C, Kapit 34.2C, and Limbang at 34.2C.

In neighbouring Brunei, the maximum temperature recorded at the airport there was 34.5C on the same day.

news courtesy of Malaysian Mirror

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