KUALA LUMPUR: A climate change expert has warned Malaysians to brace for even heavier rain as well as more severe storms and floods.
Dr Renard Siew, who is the climate change advisor to the Centre for Governance and Political Studies (Cent-GPS), a KL-based behavioral and social science research firm, said although the transition monsoon phase usually signals wet spells, the effects of climate change were in full effect.
He said the recent floods which crippled parts of Kuala Lumpur were connected to climate change.
“Are these rains seasonal? Yes. Is it the monsoon season? Yes. But we must now collectively recognise that these storms are now stronger than ever. These rains are now heavier than ever. The damages that these daily storms are causing, are now costlier than ever.
“This is the future that scientists have long warned about. Welcome to the climate crisis. Welcome to the future,” he said in a statement.
He said Malaysia’s location, situated near the Southern Pacific, compounded by global warming, had made the country vulnerable to the wet spell.
He said monsoon transition which brought along thunderstorms and heavy rain has the possibility of unleashing floods in low-lying areas in Kelantan and Terengganu, as well as low-lying areas in Penang and Johor between next month and as early as December this year.
“By the end of next month, we are predicting that the flooding in Penang will get worse. For low land areas in Johor, we predict the floods will arrive in December or early January.
“And as Antarctica melts, our sea levels will rise and the increase in volume of water means the storms that form over seas will be much stronger. Malaysia is especially prone to this because we lie right next to the Southern Pacific, a body of water which has recorded the highest levels of sea rise in the world,” he said.
Siew noted that Penang experienced severe rainstorms last year.
“With floods, and disrupted roads, the country spent over RM33 million in damages, just to assist Penang.
“These costs will be substantially multiplied in the next few months, for multiple states. And there will be other effects as well,” he said
Malaysia's crop yield production, he said, would likely drop between 10 per cent and 15 per cent, which would raise concerns over a food security crisis soon.
“It is important that we Malaysians do not see these recent storms as just a phase in our weather. It is important we recognise that the storms are getting stronger. This is the future we will be living in if mitigation efforts are not further prioritised.”