Why is it still so hot?

Thais are finding another reason apart from the pandemic to lock themselves inside their homes this summer: the excessive, excruciating heat.

With temperatures rising even after the supposed end of the hot season, experts on Friday expressed concerned about water reserves and this year’s crops.

April, famously known as Thailand’s hottest month of the year, is long over. But why has the heat this year continued to rise? A statement by the Hydro-Informatics Institute (HII) on Friday explained.

Suthat Veesakul, the director of HII told local media on Friday that the heat accumulated in May because forecast rains did not materialize.

“Despite the announcement that the rainy season will commence in the beginning of May, it was merely a forecast based on the wind and meteorological conditions, and we found that it rained far less [than predicted] in May and now June,” Suthat told reporters on Friday. 

When it rains less, there are less clouds, and more sunlight will seep through, said Suthat. The sunlight then shines through the surface of the soil and gets absorbed into the roads and skyscrapers, causing a build up of the heat.

“This is especially true in cities with tall buildings, such as Bangkok, which has received full exposure to the sunlight,” said Suthat.

Thailand’s hottest season usually runs from March to May, with an average high temperature of 32.2 to 36.1 degrees celsius. However, the average daytime temperature during the first week of June has been 39 to 41 degrees celsius, according to the institute. 

The temperature measured in the sun outdoors may even be higher, said Suthat.

The most worrying implications of this dry and hot season, according to Suthat, is that farmers are going to struggle to grow their crops to make a living. 

The director said only 1.6 billion cubic meters of water remain in the country’s main four dams, a critical low. The Bhumibol Dam in Tak, the country’s largest, has a minimum reserve requirement of 3.9 billion cubic metres of water, and was reportedly holding less than 20 per cent of usable water left at the end of 2020. 

When asked by reporters if this weather condition and heat was normal in this season, the director said it was not.

However, the director also mentioned that the change of climate is felt everywhere in the world, and not just Thailand.

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