Surface temperature mapping shows Malaysian cities are getting hotter

Kuala Lumpur, 16 March 2021 – The results of a land temperature study conducted by Think City has revealed marked increases in the peak land surface temperatures of five Malaysian cities over several decades. The study observed land surface temperatures in the Kuala Lumpur city centre, Bayan Lepas, George Town, Johor Bahru and Ipoh.

In Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) for example, in 1989, the highest temperature was 29.40 degree Celsius (°C), while the lowest was 21.07°C. In October 2019, the highest and lowest recorded temperatures in KLCC were 31.04°C and 23.34°C. This revealed an increase of 1.64°C between 1989 and 2019’s highest recorded temperatures.

Comparisons of temperatures within each city were carried out across different timeframes and each terrain held unique geographical characteristics that influenced the temperature. However, there was a consistent increase in temperature across all five locations. This has been linked primarily to the urban heat island effect, the lack of greenery and global warming.

According to Dr Ceelia Leong, Geospatial Analyst at Think City, the urban heat island effect is caused by the types of materials used in cities such as concrete and bitumen, which absorb and re-emit the sun’s heat more than natural landscapes.

She said, “Increases in temperature, linked to climate change and urban expansion, is a growing challenge for the liveability of cities, human health and urban wildlife. We used satellite imagery to map the extent of the heat island effect in Malaysian cities and to observe changes over the past few decades.

“Two characteristics were clearly evident. Firstly, Malaysian cities are getting hotter due to the increasing intensity of development, which is compounded by the effects of climate change. Secondly, the maps showed that urban greening had beneficial impacts, with the ability to lower urban temperatures between 2 and 8°C.”

Hamdan Abdul Majeed, Managing Director of Think City, said that the key aim of the temperature mapping was to get a snapshot of what cities were undergoing and to find solutions to battle the effects of climate change.

He said, “As we are in the decade of action to take concerted steps towards achieving the sustainable development goals, adapting to the impacts of climate change does not fall solely onto the shoulders of Malaysia’s policymakers. Rather, it will require ‘all hands on deck’, from the government and the private sector to the general public.”

– Construction+ Online

Source: Think City

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