Climate in a narrow sense is usually defined as the "average weather," or more rigorously, as the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years. The classical period is 30 years, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). According to Malaysian Meteorological Department (MMD), the characteristic features of the climate of Malaysia are uniform temperature, high humidity and copious rainfall. Winds are generally light. Climate change is a change in Earth's overall climate which means could be a change in Earth's average temperature or could be a change in Earth's precipitation patterns.
The Earth's climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era and of human civilization. average temperature has risen a little more than one degree Fahrenheit during the past 100 years or so. However, a small changes in Earth's average temperature can lead to big impacts.
The Earth is currently facing the impact of climate change. The melting of ice, the rise of sea level, the extreme weather, drought, massive floods, the changing of rainfall patterns and growing seasons are the impacts of climate change. Climate change has
disrupted the fruit seasons in Malaysia, according to the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS). Fruiting seasons in both local fruit trees like durians and in wild trees in the forest have changed due to the changes in rain and heat patterns. According to INC, 2000, Malaysia's temperature and rainfall are rapidly increasing between +0.6 to 3.4C and -1 to +32% in 60 years repetitively and the rise of sea level is about 13-94 cm within 100 years respectively.
The warmer Earth has caused the massive ice fields, monstrous glaciers and sea ice from the Arctic to Peru, from Switzerland to the equatorial glaciers of Man Jaya in Indonesia are disappearing fast. The melting of ice leads to the rise of sea level. According to The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that the oceans might rise between 28 to 98 centimetres by 2100 which is enough to swamp many of the cities along the U.S. East Coast. Then, a complete meltdown of the Greenland ice sheet, place sea level rise to 7 meters, enough to submerge London.
Climate change also has caused another catastrophic events such as massive floods due to heavy or prolonged downpours, snowmelt, thunderstorms, and storm surges from hurricanes, and ice or debris jams. For instance, heavy monsoon rains have caused disastrous floods and left Nepal, Bangladesh, and India with almost 1,200 dead and affected tens of millions more. The Southeast Asia also has been threatened with the severe flooding. In 2017 North eastern states of Penang and Kedah have been hit by one of the worst floods in its history due to the abnormal downpour. Meanwhile in UK, November 2015 and January 2016 were the wettest period, causing some of the most extreme and severe floods in 100 years.
Climate scientists have been predicting for years that climate change would lead to more frequent and more extreme weather events. The scientist were right. Climate change has caused many devastating events recently in many parts of the world including Malaysia. However, a study has been conducted on awareness of climate change. Surprisingly, the study shows that throughout much of Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, majorities said they hadn't heard of climate change.
Therefore, to curtail the climate change effect, first thing first is to raise awareness among the people on the impacts of climate change. They should have a better understanding on climate change and how does climate change can affect us in terms of public health, environment, weather and economic. Public education on climate change is an effective step should be taken in order to promote awareness as well as to educate people on how they can help to tackle climate change.
Nur Imani Abdullah
Forum Air Malaysia