Climate of Singapore | (2023)

Singapore is situated near the equator and has a typically tropical climate, with abundant rainfall, high and uniform temperatures, and high humidity all year round. Many of its climate variables, such as temperature and relative humidity, do not show large month-to-month variation. However, many variables exhibit prominent diurnal (or daily) variations from hour to hour, indicating the strong influence that solar heating has on the local climate.

Seasons

Singapore’s climate is characterised by two monsoon seasons separated by inter-monsoonal periods (see table below). The Northeast Monsoon occurs from December to early March, and the Southwest Monsoon from June to September.The major weather systems affecting Singapore that can lead to heavy rainfall are:

Monsoon surges, or strong wind episodes in the Northeast Monsoon flow bringing about major rainfall events;

Sumatra squalls, an organised line of thunderstorms travelling eastward across Singapore, having developed over the island of Sumatra or Straits of Malacca west of us;

Afternoon and evening thunderstorms caused by strong surface heating and by the sea breeze circulation that develops in the afternoon.

The occurrence of these events at different times of year is outlined in the following table.

Period

Prevailing Winds

Weather Features

Northeast Monsoon Season (December-early March)Northerly to northeasterly windsEarly Northeast Monsoon (Wet Phase)
  • Monsoon Surges cause widespread continuous moderate to heavy rain, at times with 25-35 km/h winds in the first half of the season, usually from December to early January.
  • Rapid development of afternoon and early evening
    showers.

Late Northeast Monsoon (Dry Phase)

  • Windy and relatively dry in the later part of the
    season, usually from late January to early March.
Inter-monsoon Period (Late March-May)Light and variable, interacting with land and sea breezes
  • Thunderstorms, at times severe, occur in the afternoon
    and early evening.
  • Hot afternoons are common (maximum temperature above 32°C).
Southwest Monsoon Season (June-September)Southeasterly to southerly
  • Occasional “Sumatra Squalls” with wind gusts of 40-80 km/h occuring between the predawn hours and
    midday.
  • Short duration showers/thunderstorms in the afternoon
    are common.
Inter-monsoon Period (October-November)Light and variable, interacting with land and sea breezes
  • Thunderstorms, at times severe, occur in the afternoon
    and early evening.
  • Generally wetter than the Inter-monsoon Period earlier
    in the year.

Rainfall

Rainfall is plentiful in Singapore and it rains an average of 167 days1 of the year. Much of the rain is heavy and accompanied by thunder. The 1981-2010 long-term mean annual rainfall total is 2165.9mm.
[1 A day is considered to have “rained” if the total rainfall for that day is 0.2mm or more.]

Fig 1 – Average number of rain days per month (1981-2010).

* Data from Changi Climate Station

Fig 2 – Monthly rainfall for Singapore (mm) (1981-2010)

* Data from Changi Climate Station

Fig 3 – Hourly variation of rainfall for each month (1981-2010).

* Data from Changi Climate Station

While there is no distinct wet or dry season in Singapore, monthly variations in rainfall do exists. Higher rainfall occurs from November to January during the wet phase of Northeast Monsoon season (Figs. 1 – 3), when the major tropical rainbelt (the Intertropical Convergence Zone ITCZ) is positioned near to us. The driest month is February which is during the dry phase of the Northeast Monsoon when the rain-belt has moved further south to affect Java.

Rainfall in Singapore shows a marked diurnal variation (Fig 3), with rainfall occurring more frequently during the daytime, particularly in the afternoons when solar heating is strongest. In terms of spatial distribution, rainfall is higher over the northern and western parts of Singapore and decreases towards the eastern part of the island (Fig 4).

Fig. 4 Annual average rainfall distribution (1981-2010)

Temperature

Fig 5 – Mean monthly temperature variation (ºC) (1981-2010)

* Data from Changi Climate Station

Fig 6 – Hourly variation of temperature for each month (1981-2010)

* Data from Changi Climate Station

Compared to countries in the temperate regions, temperatures in Singapore vary little from month to month and also from day to day. The daily temperature range has a minimum usually not falling below 23-25ºC during the night and maximum not rising above 31-33ºC during the day. May and June has the highest average monthly temperature (24-hour meanof 27.8ºC) and December and January are the coolest (24-hour mean of 26.0ºC). Singapore, being an island, also has a coastal climate. The proximity of the sea has a moderating influence on its climate. This is because water has a larger heat capacity than the land surface, and a greater amount of heat is required to increase the sea temperatures. During afternoons, conditions at the coast are often relieved by sea breezes. The presence of significant wind speeds, rainfall and cloud cover are the most important natural influences in mitigating the tropical heat.

Humidity

Relative humidity shows a fairly uniform pattern throughout the year and does not vary much from month to month (Fig 7). Its daily variation is more marked, varying from more than 90% in the morning just before sunrise and falling to around 60% in the mid-afternoon on days when there is no rain. The mean annual relative humidity is 83.9%. Relative humidity frequently reaches 100% during prolonged periods of rain.

Fig 7 – Hourly variation of relative humidity for each month (1981-2010)

* Data from Changi Climate Station

Surface Wind

Fig 8 – Annual wind rose (m/s) (1981-2010)

* Data from Changi Climate Station

The most prominent winds in Singapore are from the northeast and the south, reflecting the dominance of the monsoons in Singapore (refer to wind rose in Fig 8). On any given day, winds generally follow the prevailing monsoon flow except when light winds are being modified by terrain or weather systems (e.g., showers or thunderstorms and land or sea breezes). Wind directions are mainly from northerly to northeasterly during the Northeast Monsoon (December to March) and southerly to southeasterly during the Southwest Monsoon (June to September). Wind strength is greater during the Northeast Monsoon. The inter-monsoon months (April, May, October and November) are transition periods between the monsoons and show lighter and more variable winds.

Fig 9 – Hourly variation of surface wind speed (m/s) and direction for each month (1981-2010 average).

Shows a compilation of the monthly and hourly variation of surface wind over the course of the year. Each arrow shows the wind averaged over the past hour (average hourly wind). Arrow colours denote wind strength and arrow direction shows the direction the wind is blowing from.

* Data from Changi Climate Station

Fig 10 – Average monthly surface wind speed (m/s).

* Data from Changi Climate Station

Winds throughout the year show a diurnal variation, with lighter winds during the night and stronger winds during the day. The strongest winds occur during the Northeast Monsoon in January and February (Fig 10). Winds in Singapore are generally light, with the mean surface wind speed normally less than 2.5 m/s except during the presence of a Northeast Monsoon surge when mean speeds of 10m/s or more have been observed. The other times when strong winds occur are during thunderstorms. Surface wind gusts are produced from thunderstorm downdrafts and from the passage of Sumatra squall lines.

Visibility

Visibility is generally good during the Northeast Monsoon months from December to March except during rainfall or showers. Slight to moderate haze, which is common during the Southwest Monsoon and in light wind conditions during the inter-monsoon months, can reduce the visibility to below 10 kilometres. During severe episodes of transboundary smoke haze, visibilities below 1 km have been recorded. Poor visibility is also often observed between 0500hr and 0900hr in light to calm wind conditions when mist forms. Visibility, however, usually improves quickly within a few hours after sunrise when the mist dissipates. Following a few hours of rain, poor visibility is also sometimes observed, particularly in almost calm wind conditions.

Sunshine Duration

Sunshine duration refers to the cumulative time during which an area receives direct irradiance from the sun of at least 120 Watts/m2. Since Singapore is near the equator, the length of its day is relatively constant throughout the year, and thus so is the amount of sunshine it receives. Daily sunshine hours are mainly influenced by the presence or absence of cloud cover. They average from four to five hours during the wettest months to eight to nine hours during the drier periods. February and March have the largest number of sunshine hours, while November and December have the lowest (Figs 11 – 12).

Fig 11 – Average monthly sunshine hours.

* Data from Changi Climate Station

Fig 12 – Hourly variation of sunshine hours for each month.

* Data from Changi Climate Station

Cloud Cover

Cumulus, stratocumulus and cumulonimbus clouds are the most common low cloud types in Singapore. On an average day, cumulus clouds start to develop in the mid-morning, increasing to about 3-4 oktas (one okta is one eighth of the sky) by midday with bases of around 2,000 ft (0.6 km) and tops from 8,000 to 12,000 ft (~ 2.5 – 3.5 km). During the afternoon and early evening, these cumulus clouds may develop into cumulonimbus clouds with tops reaching between 30,000 and 40,000 ft (9 – 12 km).

The clouds diminish and begin to flatten into stratiform layers by dusk and slowly disperse during the night. Weather systems act to intensify or reduce this diurnal cycle of cloud development. Overcast conditions caused by extensive middle to high layer clouds together with active cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds are often experienced during the passage of a “Sumatra” squall line

During a Northeast Monsoon surge, broken to overcast medium layer clouds occur together with large cumulus clouds producing prolonged widespread rain and intermittent bouts of heavy rain. Low stratus clouds with bases below 1,000 ft (0.3 km) are frequently observed following the passage of Sumatra squall lines and during Northeast Monsoon surges.

Records of Climate Station Means(Climatological Reference Period: 1991-2020)

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Rainfall

Mean Monthly/
Annual Total (mm)

221.6

105.1

151.7

164.3

164.3

135.3

146.6

146.9

124.9

168.3

252.3

331.9

Mean
Raindays

13

9

12

15

15

13

14

14

13

15

19

19

Temperature (°C)

Mean
Daily Maximum

30.6

31.5

32.2

32.4

32.3

31.9

31.4

31.4

31.6

31.8

31.2

30.5

Mean
Daily Minimum

24.3

24.6

24.9

25.3

25.7

25.7

25.4

25.3

25.2

25.0

24.6

24.3

24-hr
Mean

26.8

27.3

27.8

28.2

28.6

28.5

28.2

28.1

28.0

27.9

27.2

26.8

Relative Humidity (%)

Mean
Daily Maximum

94.7

93.7

94.5

95.6

95.2

93.7

93.3

93.0

93.8

95.2

96.5

96.0

Mean
Daily Minimum

66.0

62.1

61.4

62.3

63.7

63.4

64.1

63.6

62.2

61.4

65.5

68.0

24-hr
Mean

83.5

81.2

81.7

82.6

82.3

80.9

80.9

80.7

80.7

81.5

84.9

85.5

Wind Speed (m/s)

Mean
Monthly/Annual

2.6

2.8

2.2

1.6

1.7

2.0

2.4

2.5

2.1

1.6

1.4

1.9

Thunderstorm
and Lightning

Mean
Thunderstorm Days

6

5

12

20

19

15

13

13

14

17

19

14

Mean
Lightning Days

7

4

13

21

21

16

13

12

12

18

22

16

Related Information

  • Singapore Climate Trends
  • Overview of All Climate Maps
  • Annual Climate Report

Learn about Climate

  • What is the difference between weather and climate?
  • What is a climate station?
  • What is climate change and climate variability?
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