Coral bleaching

Coral bleaching occurs in Singapore too. Is it a results of climate change?

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Watch this video on coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef

Reflect on
Where are coral reefs found?
What are the conditions needed for the growth of coral reefs?
Why are coral reefs destroyed?
What are the benefits of protecting coral reefs? Do you know that there are some beautiful coral reefs in Singapore? Click on the picture for the enlarged image.




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Rising sea level threatening countries

Will Bangkok be submerged under the rising sea level?

Will Maldives be under the rising sea level by 2100 due to climate change?

Which are the top 10 countries which will be most affected by rising sea level?

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Increase in Dengue Cases in Singapore

A total of 7,370 dengue cases have been reported in Singapore since the start of the year 2016. Four people have died of the disease so far – a 47-year-old man who lived in Marsiling Rise, a 67-year-old man who lived in Toa Payoh, a 63-year-old woman who lived in Bedok and a 73-year-old woman who lived in Hougang.

The Ministry of Health and NEA have warned that the number of dengue cases in Singapore may exceed 30,000 this year, higher than the record of 22,170 reported in 2013. One of the main factors is the rising temperatures which caused faster breeding and maturation cycles of the Aedes mosquito population.


Correlation between increasing temperature and dengue?

Singapore's fight against Dengue  (2013)

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Heat wave worsens drought in western India

With rising  temperatures, the worst drought in four decades in Western India has emptied reservoirs, killed livestock, destroyed crops and left much of the population desperate for water.

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Climate change and Water resources in Singapore

Singapore is getting hotter and drier.

How can Singapore meet the increasing water demand in Singapore?

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Earthquakes struck Japan

Two powerful quakes hit southern Japan a day apart, killing at least 41 people as@ 18 April 2016. The first one with a magnitude of 6.2 struck on Thursday 14 April 2016 and the second one with a magnitude of 7.3 struck on Saturday 16 April 2016.

The epicentre of Saturday’s (April 16) quake was near the city of Kumamoto and measured at a shallow depth of 10 km , the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said. The shallower a quake, the more likely it is to cause damage.

Buildings were reduced to rubble, including a university dormitory and apartment complexes, with dozens of people unaccounted for over a wide area.

Around 70,000 people have been evacuated, including 300 from an area close to a dam thought to be at risk of collapse. A hospital was left teetering by Saturday morning's 7.0 quake, with doctors and patients rushed from the building in darkness.

Isolated villages in the mountainous area of Kumamoto were completely cut off by landslides and damage to roads, with at least 1,000 people believed trapped in one area alone.

Aerial footage showed a bridge on a main trunk road had crashed onto the carriageway below it, its pillars felled. The quake came as emergency responders were working to reach areas already affected by a 6.2 magnitude tremor that struck late Thursday.
Aftershocks continued to rock Kumamoto and its surroundings, an area unaccustomed to the powerful quakes that regularly shake other parts of seismically-prone Japan.

Thursday's initial quake affected older buildings and killed nine people, but Saturday's brought newer structures crashing down, including a municipal office in the city of Uto.
The total number of deaths rose to 32.
Nearly 1,000 people have been hurt, 184 of them seriously.

Japan, one of the most seismically active countries in the world, suffered a massive undersea quake on March 11, 2011 that sent a tsunami barreling into the country's northeast coast.

Some 18,500 people were left dead or missing, and several nuclear reactors went into meltdown at the Fukushima plant in the worst atomic accident in a generation.


video on the earthquake

Eruption of Mt Aso

earthquakes in Japan

Another earthquake of magnitude 7.8 just struck Ecuador

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Response to Typhoon

An article released on 13 March 2016 reviewed the efforts of the Philippines government in helping the victims of the typhoon Haiyan which struck in 2015.

What are the responses?

  • Call for more typhoon-proof architecture, but many residents are still living in temporary housing. 
  • As of 2015, only 10 per cent of permanent housing has been completed, leaving thousands still living in temporary bunkhouses across the city. 
  • More than half of the US$12.8 billion earmarked for housing projects had yet to be used. 
  • In Tacloban, almost 14,500 housing units had been targeted to be built on 21 resettlement sites, but only 660 units - less than 5 per cent - have been completed. 
  • Many in the city are still living in transition. Though permanent homes have been built for them, only half have moved out of their temporary bunkhouses as there is no water and electricity at the new sites

What happened?

  • More than 360,000 homes were left destroyed in Eastern Visayas in 2013 as a result of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical cyclones to hit the country. 
  • The area was the worst hit by Typhoon Haiyan, with more than 95 per cent of its population living beside the sea or near bodies of water before the typhoon. 
  • The Philippines' precarious position in the Pacific also means it is first in line to receive more than 20 typhoons each year. 
  • The government had initially set a target of moving communities 150 metres above sea level and aimed to build structures able to withstand wind speeds of up to 300km per hour.

Source: - click on the link to watch the video.

Birth of haiyan typhoon:

Impacts of Haiyan:

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Taiwan Earthquake 7 Feb 2016

A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan at 4am local time on 7 Feb 2016.

The earthquake started at Kaohsiung but why was the impact greater at Tainan?

The damage at the epicentre Kaohsiung was much lower than Tainan due to the softer soil at Tainan. The impact was also greater as the earthquake  was shallow at a depth of 10km. Many families were at home as it is the eve of lunar new year and casualties were higher as they were sleeping at the time when earthquake struck and were not able to respond or evacuate on time.

The collapse of buildings have caused more deaths and injuries. Queries are made on the structure of the buildings, especially when tin cans were found in the construction. Most new buildings in Taiwan are built to withstand quake of magnitude 5 to 6. The president of Taiwan said that the government will tighten regulation on building construction.
Other than strengthening buildings, what are the other ways to mitigate the impact of earthquakes?

Rescue work is still in progress and is one of the most important short term response.
What are the other short and long term responses?

Earthquake is common as Taiwan lies at the plate boundary of the Eurasian and Philippines Plate.

Why does earthquake occur at the plate boundary?
Why is earthquake a hazard?
Why does the damage from earthquake differ?

A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Papua New Guinea's Bougainville Island early Tuesday (Feb 9). The quake hit some 96 kilometres southwest of Panguna at 2.19am (12.19am Singapore time), according to the US Geological Survey. The epicentre was 102 kilometres southwest of the larger town of Arawa also on Bougainville Island and USGS said it was 32 kilometres deep, which is considered shallow. Quakes are common on the island nation, which lies on the 4,000-kilometre-long Pacific Australia plate, which forms part of the "Ring of Fire", a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.

The earthquake which struck Papua New Guinea has the same magnitude as the one which struck Taiwan. Why are there more damages and casualties in Taiwan? 

Another earthquake struck Chile at 7.33 pm 9 Feb (0033 GMT Wednesday 10 Feb) 326 km north-northwest of Santiago, the USGS said. It had a depth of 31.5 km. There was no immediate reports of damage and injuries.

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Impact of climate change on crop yield

* Warming of sea surface temperatures in eastern and central Pacific Ocean that disrupts weather patterns across the Pacific
* Can cause ocean cooling in the western Pacific and around Northern Australia 
* Can deliver more rain to the west coast of North and South America
* Can disrupt trade winds that blow moisture-laden air towards eastern Australia

* Lower rainfall through winter and spring, especially in the north and east
* Temperature extremes
* Warmer-than-average weather, particularly in southern Australia in the second half of the year
 * Decreased cloud and low rainfall
* Worsening heat extremes for cities such as Adelaide and Melbourne, increase in extreme hot days and heatwaves further north
* Increased frost
* Increased bushfire risk
* Fewer tropical cyclones, especially for Queensland
* Later northern monsoon rains
* Below-average wet season rains early
* Reduced winter snowfall

However over at France, the increase in temperature has been good for champagne maker.

The 1.2°C increase in temperatures in the region over the past 30 years has reduced frost damage. It has also added one degree in the level of alcohol and reduced acidity. Harvesting in Champagne has been brought forward by two weeks on average over the past 30 years. And while drought has slashed output in other areas of agriculture, the chalky Champagne soil has water retention properties that have so far been able to temper the impact. And to fight dry weather, winemakers also use techniques such as removing grass competing for water in vineyards or keep more leaves to protect grapes from the sun.

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Pulau Ulbin

One of the projects by my former student, Cheri, on responsible tourism in Pulau Ubin. Do click on like on the video to support her project.

As you watch the video, think of the possible tensions that could arise due to tourism between

  • Tourists and the local community
  • Tourists and environment

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Interesting cartoons on Geography

Interesting cartoons from
The Australian Alps receive more snowfall than the Swiss Alps. There are only two individuals in the U.S. who have their own zip code—the president and Smokey the Bear. (Submitted by Chester Tumidajewicz, Amsterdam, NY) During Mount St. Helens’ nine-hour eruption in 1980, the volcano spewed 540 million tons of ash over more than 22,000 square miles! About 50,000 Canadians fought in the American Civil War, including about 200 for the South. (Submitted by Dan Paulun, West Lafayette, OH)
Look at the intensity of the volcanic eruption from the cartoon.  Are you curious to find out more about the Mount St Helens eruption?

Where is Mount St Helens located?
When did it erupt?
Why did it erupt?
Who are affected by the eruption?
What are the damages by the eruption?
How did the people respond to the eruption?

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Dealing with climate change - Green Mark program

Updates from climate change sg on facebook: Singapore’s “Green Mark” program aims to cover 80% of its buildings by 2030 could see a reduction in building electricity use of 22% and net economic savings of over US$400 million. 
Learn more about 2015 climate plan @ 

Climate change impact on cities are greater due to the increasing influx of people and the infrastructure development. Read more about it @ 29 Aug 2015

Deforestation contributes to climate change as forests store carbon while acting as a filter taking the heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas out of the atmosphere.  According to a study by the Washington-based centre for Global Development, tropical forests covering an area nearly the size of India are set to be destroyed in the next 35 years, a faster rate of deforestation than previously thought. If current trends continue, tropical deforestation will add 169 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 2050, the equivalent of running 44,000 coal-fired power plants for a year according to the study.

A good article on the cause and effects of global warming:

Global Warming Cause:
1. Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning power plants
2.Carbon dioxide emissions from burning gasoline for transportation
3. Methane emissions from animals,  
 4. Deforestation, especially tropical forests for wood, pulp, and farmland and thus more Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. 
5. Increase in nitrogen oxides from the increased usage of chemical fertilizers on croplands 

Global Warming Effect: 
1. Rise in sea levels worldwide
2. More killer storms
3. Massive crop failures

Here are some common misconceptions about climate change highlighted by National Climate Change Secretariat for the National Climate Change competition 2015 - 

Global warming vs climate change 
These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. Global warming refers to the increase in the Earth’s average temperature. Climate change, on the other hand, does not only refer to global changes in temperatures, it also refers to changes in weather patterns due to rising temperatures over a long period of time. Climate change brings about more occurrences of heat waves, droughts and heavy rainfall in various parts of the world. 

While being environmentally-friendly can help to address climate change, littering does not cause climate change. Climate change is caused by the burning of fossil fuels that releases greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere when energy is produced. It certainly is not caused by the irresponsible act of littering. Recycling, on the other hand, keeps litter off the ground and is a way to address climate change because it requires less energy to recycle materials such as paper, metal and glass as compared to making them from scratch. 

Ozone depletion 
The depletion of the ozone layer and global warming is not the same thing, and neither is one the cause of the other. The ozone hole is caused by human-produced chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), while global warming is caused by excess greenhouse gases produced by human activities released in the atmosphere. 

Carbon monoxide 
Carbon monoxide is an air pollutant, and can cause harm to our health. Although it contains one part carbon, similar to carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change), carbon monoxide is not a direct contributor to climate change.

Interesting interactive map on carbon emission and impacts:

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