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This is the first time a WMO Regional Office will be located within Asia and the South-West Pacific and the Office will act as a forum for regional challenges such as trans-boundary haze arising from large-scale land and vegetation fires.

This is the first time a WMO Regional Office will be located within Asia and the South-West Pacific and the Office will act as a forum for regional challenges such as trans-boundary haze arising from large-scale land and vegetation fires.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) opened a new office for the Asia-Pacific region in Singapore on August 21 2017 to improve coordination on hazards ranging from floods to fires and to strengthen meteorological services for rapidly evolving economic sectors such as air and marine transport. The Regional Office is being hosted by the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) and will serve as the nerve centre for WMO’s programmes in the region.

Read more: The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) opens new regional office in Singapore

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Microgreens farmers Timothy Jung (left), 28, and Christopher Leow, 29, looking at their close-group farming system at the "Growing More with Less" exhibition launched yesterday at The URA Centre in Maxwell Road.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Oil rigs can do more than just drill for oil, going by the drawing of a monstrous polygonal floating structure that hatches fish, grows them, and processes and packages them all in one place.

Read more: Next-gen farming concepts on show at exhibition

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A woman using a newspaper to shade herself from the morning sun and sweltering heat at Yishun. PHOTO: ST FILE

As with the rest of the world, Singapore, too, will face more extreme conditions as the world warms, experts told The Sunday Times as recent weather events continue to wreak havoc in the northern hemisphere.

Read more: Singapore faces more weather extremes as world warms

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If accelerating floods and storms worldwide were freak events, a purely reactive crisis-response would be justified. But because this change is the predictable outcome of human activity, proactive prevention is now the only lasting response to weather disasters. Scientific evidence is clear about the human hand in global warming aggravating these events. Although many of us are now finally making the connection, climate change is nevertheless still seen as something over the horizon, rather than an immediate danger. Unless this mindset changes, action to mitigate weather disasters will continue to trail behind a very dangerous reality.

Read more: Commentary: Prevent, don't react, to climate danger: Shift hurricane mindset

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Hurricane Harvey and Typhoon Hato precipitate escalation in extreme weather, particularly in countries of high global climate risk – including the Philippines.

RECENTLY, I followed the tropical storm Isang pass the Batanes area in the north. After I flew to Guangzhou in China, the low-pressure storm morphed first into a tropical depression southeast to Taiwan soaring into a typhoon in the South China Sea.

On August 23, Typhoon Hato’s eye was directly over Hong Kong. In China, Hato left 26 people dead, and damage amounting to $1.9 billion. Soon thereafter, Tropical Storm Jolina, known as Pakhar in China, formed to the east of Luzon in the Philippines and intensified as a severe tropical storm—and so it goes.

Almost at the same time, Harvey became the first hurricane in the US to make landfall since Wilma in 2005 and the strongest in Texas since Carla in 1961. As the media spotlight moved from the South China Sea to the Gulf of Mexico, Harvey unleashed “tornado-like winds,” including isolated tornadoes.

According to current estimates, exposed stock with damage to floods is calculated at $267 billion, which is more costly than Hurricane Katrina and Sandy put together. Indirect losses and total macroeconomic effects are likely to increase these estimates, not to speak of further damage in neighboring Louisiana and inland as long as rainfall-induced flooding will continue.

Read more: Global climate dissension is a risk to the Philippines

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ILLUSTRATION BY LA JOHNSON

Now I know why my fellow passengers prayed before we left.

Read more: *This* Close to a Bus Plunge in Myanmar

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A woman carries her child as she walks through a flooded road in Kyaung Kone in Irrawaddy Region, Myanmar, August 12, 2016. / Soe Zayar Tun / Reuters

In May 2008, Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar, causing loss of lives and widespread destruction of property. The category 4 cyclone strongly reiterated two facts: climate change and its repercussions have to be recognized and tackled; and, secondly, a natural disaster has the ability to bring people and civil society organizations together for re-building the spirit of the country. It was a critical moment of reflection for the nation, to take stock of its vulnerability and preparedness against an enemy which had generated havoc and panic for all.

Read more: Climate Change: A Permanent Reality for Myanmar

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After the mass coral in 2010, researchers discovered that between five to ten percent of the coral reefs in Malaysian Marine Parks  had died.

Hard coral species at dive sites in Pulau Perhentian Besar and Pulau Perhentian Kecil are in danger of being completely destroyed by divers and snorkellers who ignore warnings by marine parks not to step on them.

Read more: Careless people damaging our corals

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"Employers are starting to recognise the benefits of having greenery in work spaces," says Mr Veera, who set up Greenology in 2008, during the financial crisis . PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

To some, having "green fingers" is seen as a gift. But what about having a way with plants, and being able to run a successful business?

Veera Sekaran, 55, has both. He is the founder and managing director of Greenology, a company specialising in urban greenery. Greenology has about 39 employees, including foreign workers.

When Mr Veera first mooted the idea of providing "green walls", better known as vertical gardens, many people advised him against doing it.

Greenology was set up in 2008, during the financial crisis.

"Many people told me nobody would want to have a vertical garden because it is considered a luxury, and it was in the middle of a financial crisis then," he says.

Read more: Creating a vertical urban jungle

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