The daily coverage of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the media has given the public an insight into how the crisis has impacted the healthcare sector. We’ve seen footage of hospitals inundated with stricken patients, hospital staff begging for supplies, and the global race to find the medical holy grail of the moment – a COVID-19 vaccine. But what about the other sectors of science that are not directly linked to the coronavirus? How are they coping with, even transforming in, this pandemic and the ensuing cross-border lockdowns?
The COVID-19 pandemic, which is sweeping the globe infecting 2.3 million and causing the death of 248,561 (as of 4 May 2020) has understandably superseded the issue that dominated the news, social media, political activity, business practice, and academic research for much of 2019 – the climate emergency. But it is useful to consider, are these two issues related, do they both have the same underlying causes, and can the solutions be the same?
The current novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted the ease with which healthcare capacity can be overwhelmed and what we consider ‘normal’ can be turned upside down. This isn’t the first infectious disease to threaten southeast Asia (and the world) and it won’t be the last.
A higher frequency of unusual weather conditions caused by global warming has melted the Greenland ice sheet by 600 billion tonnes, raising the world’s watermark by 1.5 milimetres – which is about 40 per cent of the total rise in sea level in 2019.
“When would be the next eruption?” is a recurring question posed to volcanologists. And it is a challenging one to answer as many processes over different timescales are at play before an eruption.
Channel NewsAsia’s documentary titled “Carbon Conundrum” investigates how carbon emissions contribute to rising global temperatures, which lead to rising sea levels and extreme weather events. In the documentary aired on television (channel 106 on Starhub) on 31 March 2020, Assistant Professor Aron Meltzner and his team provided insights on how rising sea levels in the southeast Asian region could impact Singapore.
113 years ago, on 4 January 1907, a powerful magnitude (M) 8.2-8.4 earthquake occurred off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. This earthquake belonged to a special class called “tsunami earthquakes” that do not generate very strong shaking, but can result in large tsunamis.
When the world’s climate changes in significant or unexpected ways, these anomalies impact different regions in a dissimilar manner. During the last Little Ice Age between 1500 and 1850 AD, for example, the Western Himalayas experienced surprisingly warmer spring temperatures while the northern latitudes were covered in more snow than usual.
In the early morning at about 5am on 12 February 2020, a bright object was seen in the sky. It blazed over Singapore and Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and its lights were caught on two dash-cam videos. The video that was filmed in Singapore was captured near the Nanyang Technological University campus, next to the Jalan Bahar flyover.
As at 5 pm on 15 January 2020, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) reported that Taal volcano’s eruption is still going on and retained the Alert Level for Taal at 4 (hazardous eruption imminent), where further eruptions are likely to occur in the coming hours or days.