The climate of Malaysia is one of the many factors which serves to make the country unique. Many who visit Malaysia for the first time might not know what to expect with regard to the weather and the prevailing climatic conditions in the country; thus, this article provides information on such matters.
Malaysia and Its Regional Climate
Malaysia, a country located in Asia, is found just north of the equator. For this reason, the country experiences an equatorial climate. The climate of Malaysia is rainy, hot, and humid throughout the year. The temperature in the country is perpetually high, but this also means that the country’s climate is stable. A slight decrease in the temperature occurs from November to January in the northern region of the country. There is also an increase in temperature between the months of March and August. This increase occurs due to high humidity. Different parts of Malaysia experiences different climate conditions. This is due to the fact that the country is divided into two parts: Peninsular Malaysia, which is the Malaysian mainland, and Malaysian Borneo.
A closer look at Malaysia’s climate brings to light some interesting facts. For example, the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia is directly affected by the northeastern monsoon. This is evidenced by the fact that it receives approximately 2,500 to 3,000 millimeters of rainfall every year. The largest amounts of rainfall occur in November, December, and January. The central and southern parts of Malaysia also experience a rainy season during these months; such is sometimes true of the country’s northern region as well.
Kota Bharu, a city located in the far north of the country near the border with Thailand, experiences tremendous amounts of rainfall every November and December. However, during the months spanning February to April, the amount rainfall is generally below 100 millimeters every month. Of these months, February typically has the lowest temperatures. This same trend of annual rainfall can also be found on the islands of Redang and Perhentian, where tourists cannot visit between the months of November and January. The months of February to July are the most suitable for tourists; this is also true of the island of Tioman.
The west coast of Peninsular Malaysia overlooks the Strait of Malacca. The quantity of rainfall in this region is relatively low. The northern portion of Peninsular Malaysia is relatively dry as there are mountains in the interior part that shield the area from the effects of the northeastern winds.
Langkawi, located off the west coast of the mainland, receives approximately 100 millimetres or less of rainfall from December to March. The rainiest months are from May to November.
The city of Kuala Lumpur has no dry period, but the rainiest periods are from June to August and January to February. Thunderstorms can also erupt at any moment. As it is a large city, the heat waves can be intense. The months from September to December experience the lowest amounts of sunshine.
The Malaysian part of Borneo receives more rainfall than does Peninsular Malaysia. The precipitation in this region can be as much as 3,988 millimeters per year. Its western portion is the rainiest, with the Kuching area receiving much rainfall from October to March. In January, there tends to be much rainfall on a daily basis.
Climatic Conditions in Malaysia by Month
The temperatures in Malaysia differ based on location within each of the country’s different regions. based on the city you dwell. In general, temperatures tend to be high and the atmosphere is typically hot and humid temperature. The climatic conditions in Malaysia can be more specifically divided into four distinct seasons based on the months of the year.
From March to May, climatic conditions are calmest across Malaysia; however, the northeastern and southwestern monsoons begin at the end of May. During this period, people are advised to carry their umbrella to avoid any problems caused by the monsoon weather. The highest temperatures in the country can be experienced between June and August. These months see the southwestern monsoon become prevalent. During these months, there is much precipitation and humidity. Applying sunscreen and carrying an umbrella will often be necessary. Rainfall frequency and amounts increase from September to November. The western portion of Malaysia experiences more rainfall in September, while the eastern portion does so in October. The month of November is the coldest and rainiest one. The months of December, January, and February see the country experience rainfall through the northeast monsoon. Tourists who are looking forward to spending a vacation in Malaysia during these months should understand that rain is usually experienced during the afternoon and evenings.
The Climate of Malaysia and its Neighboring Countries
Malaysia shares land borders with Thailand and Indonesia as well as sea borders with Singapore and the Philippines. These countries have similar climates to that of Malaysia; tropical with southwestern and northeastern monsoons.
However, each of these countries’ respective climates have one or more unique features which set them apart. Singapore possesses an inter-monsoon season with afternoon and evening thunderstorms. Although much of Indonesia is tropical, hot, and humid, its highland areas have a moderate climate. Most of Thailand is subject to the effects of the northeastern monsoon, with the exception of the Kra Isthmus region which is perpetually hot and humid. The Philippines has a tropical marine climate with northeastern and southwestern monsoons affecting the country throughout the year.
Effects of Elevation on Malaysia’s Climate
The mountain ranges, forests, and island areas affect Malaysia’s climate. The country is mostly flat but does have areas of significant elevation in the country’s mountain regions. The winds in mountainous areas follow the northeast-southwest or north-south routes.
The lowland areas of Malaysia, defined as areas below an altitude of 760 meters, also affect the country’s climate. These areas contain the majority of Malaysia’s forest areas; these forests are tropical rainforests. However, the forests in the eastern portion of Malaysia have been affected by logging and felling of trees that have affected the waterways and agriculture. This logging has also given rise to soil erosion in the area.
Effects of Climate Change in Malaysia
Due to changes in climatic conditions in Malaysia, some have experienced food shortages, more frequent floods, rising sea levels, and drastic effects on the temperature. The extreme change in the occurrence of rainfall can be seen in the Sungai Selangor Dam which supplies 60% of water to the Kuala Lumpur region but has become much drier in recent times.
The worsening flood situation and rising temperatures in recent years may bring about a drastic shift in the population of the country in the coming years. Farm yields are currently witnessing a drop of nearly 15% because of the unpredictable weather conditions. According to a report, the Malaysian government has started working on its global warming strategies after signing the Paris Agreement. It has been doing so for nearly two years. The government has also taken steps to increase the general level of awareness among the citizens about global warming and other changes to local and global climatic conditions.
Malaysia experiences a somewhat mixed climate with high humidity and temperatures across most of the country. Those who move to Malaysia are generally able to adapt to the climate with time. People who plan to visit Malaysia for tourist purposes can seek the help of travel or tour agencies that can help them receive the proper information about Malaysia’s climate.
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Climate of Malaysia FAQs
Those moving from other countries to Malaysia can instantly acquaint themselves with Malaysia’s climate. As the climate is rainy, hot, and humid, people from abroad who have already been living in a place which experiences such weather conditions can adjust quickly. However, for others, adaptation to the local climate may take some time. The humid and hot climate has been known to surprise many a foreigner; the same can also be said about the country’s monsoon season. However, an important positive related to the climate of Malaysia lies in the fact that major storms are rare. Although those living in Malaysia often encounter various wind currents, major destructive storms do not usually affect Malaysia.
The best time to visit Malaysia depends on the region of the country to be visited. The best times to visit Kuala Lumpur are from May to July and December to February because humidity is low. The best times to visit Penang are January and February; Malaysian Borneo, March to October; and the east coast of the country, April to October.
The peak season for tourism spans the period from the beginning of December to the end of January. There are also many tourist arrivals in Malaysia in June, July, August, and early September.
Most of the time, weather conditions may change quickly and suddenly in Malaysia. This is especially true between June and August. The country has a tropical climate and its proximity to the sea makes its environment humid as well. The effects of the southwestern and northeastern monsoons also differ from region to region. Peninsular Malaysia in particular experiences significant changes in monsoon effects throughout the year.