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Freezing weather turns water into ice on Mt Kinabalu
Published on: Sunday, January 14, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Water had frozen to become ice lumps at the peak of Malaysia's tallest mountain, Mount Kinabalu.

This follows temperature plummeting to between -1 and -2 Celcius at the peak, which in turn had turned puddles of water found on top of the 4,095 m, frozen into ice.

Kinabalu mountain guide association president Junaydie Sihan said the phenomenon of water freezing to ice on the mountain, reportedly took place on Monday, he told Harian Metro.

"The incident of having ice at the peak is rare, but it does happen once or twice in a year.

Last year, it happened in August, which saw water turning into ice lumps," he said, adding the current temperature at the peak is between 3 and 5 degree celcius.

He said during cold weather periods, not only ice but something akin to frost can also be seen on the mountain side.

"But they are not snow, they are just ice particles."

The cold weather which the country is experiencing now is due to the north east monsoon wind which is derived from the Siberian-Mongolian region and flows through via northern China into the South China Sea before moving into Malaysia.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Climatology and Oceanography Professor, Dr Fredolin Tangang @ Tajudin Mahmud said the sudden change in climate and cold weather will last another two to three days with Johor and Sarawak experiencing heavy rain.

Fredolin said the current thunderstorm and cold weather was called the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) phenomenon or is also known as the Madden-Julian Swing.

"The MJO phenomenon is part of the climate diversity in tropical areas that swings with frequency, normally once within 20/60 days," he said.

He was commenting on the cold weather of around 22 degrees Celsius which had gripped several places in the country.

Fredolin said occurrence of the MJO phenomenon normally takes place in the absence of El Nino or La Nina phenomenon but its presence can strengthen the El Nino generation process.

He adds that the Siberian-Mongolian high-pressure wind also caused a cyclone bomb that caused the cold weather in the eastern United States (US) and Canada to record temperatures below the freezing level.

He explained that besides the cold wind, the north east monsoon movements would also bring along heavy rainfall to the coastal areas in the Peninsular, for example in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Johor, which could result in floods.

"At the beginning of the north east monsoon we witnessed the east coast states being hit by the floods and by the end of Januarywe expect the same but this time it will be further down south, as it comes to an end.

"The same thing happened in 2007, when Johor was hit by a big flood but then I was not sure whether there was a presence of MJO or not (at that time)," he said.

He advised members of the public to stay alert and to look out for weather warnings during this wet season as well.

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