Earth Observatory Blog

Submitted on 08 Jul 2020 by:

A commentary by Professor Benjamin Horton (Earth Observatory of Singapore) and Emeritus Professor Perter Horton (University of Sheffield), published online on 7 July 2020 in One Earth, looks at how the current COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis are signs of the unsustainability of human society and the decreasing resilience of our ailing planet.

Titled “COVID-19 and the Climate Emergency: Do Common Origins and Solutions Reside in the Global Agrifood System?”, the authors discuss whether both events have the same underlying causes and common solutions, and whether they might be rooted in a failing global agrifood system.

Citing declining...

Submitted on 05 Jun 2020 by:

Rising from the muddy depths of Singapore’s tropical swamps, the distinctive roots of the mangrove trees lie draped in a descending curve – with some parts of the roots buried in the wet soil, and other parts exposed to the humid air. 

Because home along the coast is consistently flooded with sea water brought in by the tides, mangrove trees need to have a part of their roots above water to help them breathe in a waterlogged environment that is often low in oxygen. It is this distinct vertical accretion in their growth that makes mangrove trees incredibly important in our fight against climate change.

The mangrove ecosystem is an intriguing, intricate one that allows its trees to adapt to high temperature and salinity levels. As a dense forest, the tangled...

Submitted on 23 Aug 2019 by:

In the video below, Professor Benjamin Horton, Principal Investigator at the Earth Observatory of Singapore and Chair of the Asian School of the Environment, shares his thoughts on the topic of climate and sea-level rise in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s 2019 National Day Rally (NDR) speech that was aired on 18 August 2019.

Prof Horton felt that PM Lee had successfully communicated and emphasised the urgency for Singapore to take the right actions to deal with the effects of climate change. This is especially important for land-scarce Singapore, where we can’t simply move in-land as a means to adapt to sea levels that certainly will rise. As an important first step, he recommends that Singapore “invest in the science, [so that we] can have responsible and robust adaptation...

Submitted on 03 Oct 2018 by:
The Singapore Series on Sea-Level Rise, a special blog series by four Masters students from the University of Melbourne.

Our previous blog posts in the Singapore Series on Sea-Level Rise discussed the science behind sea-level rise, as well as the effects on Singapore as global temperatures increase and sea levels rise. If you have missed reading our first two blogs, you can find them here:

The Science of Sea-Level Rise: How Climate Change will Hurt Singapore

Why Your Chicken Rice Depends on Sea-Level Rise

These blog posts should make it clear that Singapore is...

Submitted on 26 Sep 2018 by:
The Singapore Series on Sea-Level Rise, a special blog series by four Masters students from the University of Melbourne.

Sea-level rise (SLR) will affect all Singaporeans whether that be the businessman, the factory worker, or the high school student. Everyone will be impacted from the effects of rising sea levels. 

As emphasised in our first post of this special blog series on climate change in Singapore, the rate and magnitude of sea-level rise are increasing. The impacts of this acceleration will affect all aspects of Singaporean life.

In this blog post, we will explore aspects of food and water security, and the prospects of Singaporeans becoming...

Submitted on 19 Sep 2018 by:

The Singapore Series on Sea-Level Rise, a special blog series by four Masters students from the University of Melbourne.

We know human-induced climate change is real. It is happening across the world because of rising concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere.

Sometimes it is hard to know if the climate is changing if you are isolated from many of its effects. However, countless populations are already exposed to the impacts of climate change, which include: warming temperatures, changing rainfall, increased droughts and wildfires, decline in agricultural yield, more flooding, and many other consequences.

Although Singapore is not presently in a climate crisis, the effects are not far away. Other than extreme temperatures, one of...