Hot sea breeze spikes heat for Penangites

People brave the heat, as they take a leisurely stroll along a street in Penang. ― Bernama pic
People brave the heat, as they take a leisurely stroll along a street in Penang. ― Bernama pic

GEORGE TOWN, March 14 — High humidity levels are causing people in Penang to feel hotter than usual.

Penang recorded a high of 34 degrees Celsius on March 5, with a humidity level of 88 per cent.

The temperature yesterday was 33 degrees Celsius and the humidity level was 85 per cent.  

Kumpulan Sahabat Alam environmentalist Mohmad Afandi Ahmad said the higher the humidity, the hotter it would feel.

This is because humidity is the amount of water vapour in the air and it is easily heated up.

“However, the humidity does not affect the temperature recorded,” he said.

“That is why when the temperature recorded is, for example, 30 degrees, it feels much hotter.”

He cited Perlis as an example where the temperature there was constantly high but grapes could still grow.

“In Perlis, the temperature is always high but the humidity is low,” he said.

It was reported Penangites would have to bear with the searing heat until the middle of the year. 

The Meteorological Department said the state would experience several days of rain at the end of the month but it would be minimal. 

Penang Water Supply Corporation Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa cautioned Penangites not to waste water as the current heatwave was expected to continue until June. 

Afandi said another reason it felt hotter than the temperature recorded was because Penang was surrounded by sea.

“When the sea water is hot, the water particles that evaporate and the wind that blows will be hot, too, increasing the heat felt by those by the sea,” he said.

The environmentalist also stressed that even with the high temperature and the heat from the sea breeze, the impact on people can be reduced if there were more trees.

“Trees play an important role in absorbing heat from the surroundings,” he said.