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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Earthquakes and extent of damage

I have been telling my students about the numerous earthquakes near Solomon islands last week. You can read about it from the channelnewsasia:

How is the magnitude measured on the Richter scale?
What are the factors which affect the extent of damage?
Why is a shallow focus earthquake more damaging than a deep focus earthquake?
Where are most earthquakes found?

The fear of an earthquake is real and you should know the cause of a tsunamis and the impacts of tsunamis on coastal areas.

Most importantly what are the preparedness measures?
Does the early warning system work?
Has technology helped?

Remember the eBook on the oceans fury? Do check out my earlier post:

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National efforts in mitigating climate change

Read the article on

Singapore has made a pledge to stabilise and limit its yearly greenhouse gas emissions to about 65 million tonnes by 2030. 

Singapore has progressively switched from fuel oil to natural gas for cleaner power generation. Today, over 90 per cent of electricity here is generated from natural gas. There is a need for us to attain higher levels of energy efficiency by deploying best-in-class technologies.

What other ways have we been helping in mitigating climate change? How effective are these strategies?

We need to continue our efforts in mitigating climate change by reducing carbon emission or our temperatures in Singapore may soar by 4.6°C by end of the century.

Watch this cute animation on what you can do to help reduce carbon emission and contribute to mitigating climate change.

As shown above there are more warmer days and more intense rainfall in Singapore. 

Watch the video below to see how climate change cause an increase in sea level and its impact.

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Flood in Southern Asia

Find out more about how the Monsoon rain has led to flooding in Southern Asia from

Where are the areas affected by the flood?
Who are the people affected by the flood?
Why did the flood occur?
What is the extent of damage from the flood?
How can help be rendered to the victims of the flood?

Find out which part of Asia received the most amount of rainfall in the last seven days from Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission

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Concerns on water resources

Another national tap of Singapore  - imported water from Malaysia.
Find out more from

Why is there a need to conserve the use of water?
What are the other three national taps of Singapore?
Who are the ones responsible of ensuring ample water supply in Singapore?
Which are the sectors affected if there is a shortage of water supply in Singapore?
How can we prevent water shortage in Singapore?


More on Singapore's 4 National Tap here:

Update on 13 April 2016
The water level in Linggiu Reserviur is only slightly more than one third full!

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Volcanic eruption affecting tourism in Bali

Read this article on how travel to Bali is affected due to the volcanic eruption of Mount Raung in East Java (natural disaster).

The volcanic ash from the eruption of Mount Raung in East Java has lead to the cancellation of 250 flights and thousands of tourists stranded in Bali on 10 July 2015. Flights have to be cancelled due to reduced visibility from the volcanic ash which posed a hazard in landing.

As posted earlier the outbreak of diseases such as MERS also affected tourist arrivals e.g. in South Korea. 

The economic situation of Greece has also discourage tourist arrivals. What other situations can you think of that affects tourist arrivals?

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Preparedness Measures for earthquakes

Read this article on how research in Singapore on building design can help to save lives in an earthquake.

Associate Professor Li Bing has been working on the best way to make buildings quake-proof. In Nepal, for instance, six school buildings which had their beam and column structures wrapped with low-cost materials like wire mesh and glass fibre withstood April's 7.8-magnitude earthquake.

And when disaster strikes in Asia and Pacific regions, Singapore is often among the first to send rescue missions overseas. Meanwhile, the Changi Regional Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Coordination Centre helps disaster-affected areas by coordinating multi-national military relief efforts.

Visit and play the game.
Record the strategies used in minimizing damage from earthquakes.

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Impact of MERS on tourism

Read the following articles on the spread of MERS and how it affected South Korea:

Where did the disease originate?
When did the Middle East Respiratory Syndrom spread to Korea?
Who are affected?
Why does the outbreak affect tourism?
What is done to deal with the outbreak?


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Earthquake rocks Nepal

Watch the video on the aftermath of the Earthquakes in Nepal and note down the impacts of the earthquakes. 

Read more about it @

A powerful earthquake rocked central Nepal, causing extensive damage to buildings and dozens of injuries and deaths on 25 April 2015. 

The quake measured 7.9 and struck an area between the capital Kathmandu and the city of Pokhara. Tremors were felt across the region, as far afield as Pakistan, Bangladesh and neighbouring India.

Read the article on Channel News Asia on the impacts and some of the short-term response which are critical in reducing the number of casualties. Search for victims, setting up shelters, medical and food.

A 6.8-magnitude quake hit eastern Nepal in August 1988 killing 721 people, and a magnitude 8.1 quake killed 10,700 people in Nepal and India in 1934.
Why is the area prone to earthquake? Are there ways to mitigate the impacts of earthquakes?

The death toll exceeded 4000 on 28 April 2015. More on the short-term response @

Rescue operation, shelter, food and medical aid are critical immediately after a natural disaster. 

Why is this so?
What can be done?
Who can help?
Where would the help be needed?
When must this help be rendered?
How is the rescue work carried out?

What are the measures to reduce the negative impacts of natural disasters in the long-term other than the immediate help given?

International efforts:

As @ 30 April, death toll exceeded 5000 - the survivor rioted against the unavailability of relief from the government. Read the following article and explain why short-term response is critical.

Read this article on 5 May 2015 on more short-term responses - rescue team, medical and food aid, immunization etc.

FAO helping farmers recover their life

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Chile volcano eruption

Look at the video clip below and look at the extent of the eruption.

  • What is the type of volcano shown?
  • Where is the volcano located?
  • When did it last erupt before the eruption on 22 April 2015?
  • Who are the people affected?
  • Why do volcanoes erupt?
  • How do the people respond to the eruption?
Read more about the eruption on the BBC website which also shows a map of the location -

Read about the eruption on Channel News Asia which mentioned that the volcano is located on the Pacific rim of fire - found out more @

The negative economic impact of the eruption:

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Extreme weather creating havoc in New South Wales

Refer to the link below for pictures showing how NSW is affected by the extreme weather.
You have learned about global warming and the impacts of global warming. Is this a results of global warming?

As you watch the video clip below on the NSW storms, think about the following:
Where are the areas affected?
When did this happen?
Who are affected?
What are the impacts of the storms?
Why is New South Wales experiencing more and stronger storms now?
How can we help to mitigate climate change?

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Efforts by STB to attracts more tourists

A look at past STB campaigns since STB launched its first branding campaign  in 1984:

In 2014, there are 15.1 million tourists who visited Singapore - a dip of 3 per cent from 2013.  The Singapore Tourism Board  announced on 7 Apr 2015 a new $20 million campaign to pull visitors into Singapore.  Find out what is included in the campaign to attract more tourists.

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E-book 'Ocean fury"

Download the ST Stars e-book from  Download the e-book "Ocean's fury" for free.
Some extracts from the e-book on ocean's fury below:

Points to ponder:
  1. What cause a tsunamis?
  2. What are the impacts of a tsunamis?
  3. What are the short-term and long-term responses?
  4. How do they prepare for tsunamis?

A major earthquake with a magnitude 7.7 struck off Papua New Guinea on Monday and triggered a tsunami warning. Find out from the news article below the impact.

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Singapore's 3rd desalination plant at Tuas

Singapore's 3rd desalination plant will be opened at Tuas. To prepare for “a future where dry spells may become more prolonged”, more desalination plants may be built to enhance water security, says the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.

Read the news on

1. How does the opening of more desalination plants help to increase the water supply in Singapore?
2. How can water demand be managed?

What are the 4 National taps of Singapore?
Refer to the map and locate them.

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Impact of global warming on Aquatic life

Is global warming responsible for the death of fishes?

Read this article on Straits Time and find out more about the impacts of global warming in Singapore and Malaysia.


After reading the article, reflect on the following questions:

What are the physical and human impacts of global warming mentioned in the article?
Are there ways which we can help to mitigate climate change?

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More extreme weather for Singapore?

You would have read the news that dry weather is expected to last for 2 more weeks at least last Monday on the Straits Times 2nd March 2014:

How has the weather affected us? 
How has the climate change affected Singapore?

Watch the news on how extreme weather has affected us in 2014: 

1.  What do you think is the main cause of the climate change?
2.  What is the more extreme weather caused by climate change in Singapore?
3.  What are the physical and human impacts of such extreme weather on us?

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Fewer tourists visited Singapore in 2014 but receipts hold firm

Fewer tourists visited Singapore last year compared to 2013. International visitor arrivals totalled 15.1 million last year, a 3.1 per cent dip from 2013's 15.6 million, which was a record in visitor arrivals. The drop last year was especially prominent in the China market. The number of Chinese visitors last year fell 24 per cent from 2013.

The STB said the drop was likely due to factors such as the implementation of China's Tourism Law, regional socio-political issues and recent aviation incidents in the region.

But despite the dip in the total number of visitors, each visitor spent marginally more compared to 2013, with tourism receipts for 2014 holding steady at S$23.5 billion.
On the back of a stronger Korean won against the Singapore dollar, 14 per cent more South Koreans visited Singapore last year compared to 2013. The Hong Kong and Vietnam markets also saw an increase in visitor arrivals of 17 and 11 per cent, respectively, compared to 2013.

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Heavy rain from NE Monsoon

Heavy rain brought by NE Monsoon caused flooding in Malaysia.
Watch the video clip and reflect on the following:
1. What causes the formation of the NE Monsoon?
2. Why does the NE Monsoon bring heavy rain to Malaysia?
3. What are the impacts of the heavy rain?

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Leading cause of death in 2013

A map for the students to ponder -
What caused the difference in the reasons for deaths globally?
Is it connected to development?
Is it connected to food?


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Human Development Indicator

Look at how the HDI varies across the countries on the interactive map. You can also drag the indicator along the time scale to see how the HDI have changed with time.
The interactive map is available on

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