2020 was S'pore's 8th hottest year on record, with exceptionally wet June

50 Sumatra squalls too.

Zhangxin Zheng | January 19, 2021, 03:50 PM

2020 is one of the top three warmest years on record globally, according to the World Meteorological Organisation.

However, Singapore's temperature trends in 2020 differed slightly from the global trends, Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) reported on Jan. 19 in a review of Singapore's weather and climate.

Here are some of the key findings from "The 2020 Climate and Weather: The Year in Review".

1. 2020 is the 8th warmest year on record

According to MSS, 2020 is the eighth warmest year on record, with an annual mean temperature of 28.0°C, which is 0.5°C above the long-term average.

The first five months of 2020 were warmer-than-average but June and September were cooler-than-average.

MSS also reported that between February 2018 and June 2020, Singapore hits the record number of 28 consecutive months of warmer-than-average mean temperatures.

2. Rainfall in 2020 was 8th lowest in the past 30 years

In 2020, the annual total rainfall recorded at Changi climate station was 1886.6mm.

This is 12.9 per cent lower than the long-term annual average of 2165.9mm.

This is also the eighth-lowest annual total rainfall in the past 30 years.

However, there were more occurrences of intense heavy rainfall in 2020.

The hourly rainfall exceeded 70mm in six days in 2020, the highest number of days since 2013.

3. Exceptionally wet Southwest Monsoon

Last year's Southwest Monsoon, usually between June and September, was unseasonably wet.

The rainfall in these three months were 30 per cent above 1981-2010 long-term average, MSS said.

This period of the year is normally drier than other months.

MSS explained that this was partly due to La Niña conditions developed in the third quarter of 2020, which continued to strengthen in subsequent months.

4. June 2020 was a "remarkable month"

June 2020 was the wettest in the past 10 years with 233.8mm total rainfall.

It had 21 rain days, the highest in the last 30 years, and five consecutive days of temperature dipping below 30°C (Jun. 20-24).

June 2020 was the second coolest June in the last 20 years.

5. Coolest day was on Sep. 16, 2020

However, the coolest day was not in June.

It was on Sep. 16, with the lowest daily minimum temperature of 20.9°C recorded in Newton.

On that day, there was a Sumatra squall, which is an organised line of thunderstorms that bring heavy rain and gusty winds.

6. 50 Sumatra squalls in 2020

In total, 50 Sumatra squalls occurred in 2020, higher than an average of 45 per year.

Out of these, 14 passed over Singapore in October.

This is the highest number for October since 2010.

MSS partly attributed this high frequency of Sumatra squalls for the month to the presence of several tropical cyclones over the South China Sea and western Pacific.

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