Sunday, January 21, 2007


Rising temperature in Indian Ocean may have caused Johor floods

BANGI: The warming of the Indian Ocean in the past 20 to 30 years – brought about by global warming – could have played a part in the unusual weather which caused flooding in Johor and other parts of Malaysia.
Climate expert Associate Prof Dr Fredolin Tangang said the rising temperature of the Indian Ocean, brought about by a series of events starting with the melting of ice in Greenland, could have caused the unusual and adverse weather conditions in South-East Asia.
An oceanographer based at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, Dr Fredolin said the Indian Ocean was cooled by a natural phenomenon which oceanographers labelled the “Great Ocean Conveyor Belt.”
The “conveyor belt” allowed warm water from the Indian Ocean to flow to the Arctic waters near Greenland, where the heat was dispersed.
However, Dr Fredolin said melting ice caps in the Arctic region around Greenland due to global warming had caused the natural conveyor belt to slow down or even stop.
“Research shows that there is significant melting of ice in Greenland due to global warming.
“As a result, the salinity of the sea water has decreased,” he said in an interview.
As the water mass would be lighter, it was not able to sink, thus disturbing the natural progression of the conveyor belt.
“The conveyor belt would either be stopped or slowed down,” he added.
He said the present rising temperatures in the Indian Ocean could be associated with a weaker or absent “conveyor belt” while the area around Greenland would experience a drop in temperature.
“Cooling in the region near Greenland and warming in Indian Ocean is not a coincidence but a good indicator of a weaker or halted ocean conveyor belt,” he said.
He said if the cooling trend in the North Atlantic continued and grew bigger, Europe would eventually head for severe winter in the future.
“For the tropical regions, especially regions close to the Indian Ocean, more extreme and unusual weather occurrences and climate anomalies such as typhoons and cyclones will appear in the future,” he said.
He said he was currently studying recent climatic changes to explain what was happening to the country and would submit his report to the Government soon.

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