Connect with us

Thai Life

Phuket History: Look back at the island’s changing climate

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Phuket History: Look back at the island’s changing climate | The Thaiger
  • follow us in feedly

PHUKET: Climate change is becoming a big issue in our modern world. Changing temperatures are causing extreme weather conditions, and such changes are being noticed throughout the world.

The Arctic ice caps are melting at an alarming rate and sea levels are predicted to rise even faster in coming years. Not only is the climate changing throughout the world, but it is changing far more rapidly than we could have imagined.

Tropical storms and cyclones are intensifying in strength every year, and often the worst hit areas are the poorest countries. Although the causes of global warming have been linked to human activity and greenhouse gases, the findings are still a matter of heated debate. Still, few can deny the reality of climate change and the toll it is taking on human lives and property.

But if climate change is happening on a global scale, has the climate in Phuket been changing as well in recent decades? To answer that question, we have to look back and see what weather conditions were like in Phuket several years ago.

Recently I stumbled across a set of data on a website called The website keeps a record of Phuket’s historical weather conditions, dating back to the year 1973. A closer look at the figures reveals a startling find.

One of the first things you can immediately point out is that temperatures in Phuket have been on the rise since the 1970s, especially in the last decade. The average annual temperature in Phuket in 1973 was only 28 degrees Celsius. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, the hottest yearly average only reached 28.4 degrees Celsius.

In the last decade, the year 2004 averaged 28.7 degrees, 2006 averaged 28.5, 2009 averaged 28.5, 2010 averaged 29.1 and 2011 averaged 28.6. It turns out that in the past three years, we have recorded some of the highest temperatures in Phuket, since we started keeping records.

The data also shows that it has been raining a lot more in Phuket in recent decades. During the seventies, average rainfall on the island was around 2,000 millimeters per year. During the eighties, average rainfall was around 2,300 millimeters per year. During the nineties, the figure had risen to roughly 2,500 millimeters. In the last decade, more than 2,800 millimeters of rain fell on the island every year on average.

Astoundingly, from the beginning of 2010 until the end of 2011, the amount of rain exceeded 3,000 millimeters per year. That means over the past 40 years, we have seen a 30 per cent increase in the amount of rainfall over Phuket. It’s not surprising that floods, rare as they were, are now happening more and more often in Phuket during the rainy season.

Not only are we dealing with more rainfall each year, thunderstorms are also happening more frequently than ever before.

According to data, during the seventies, thunderstorms only occurred around 50 times every year, on average. However, during the 1980s, it happened roughly 57 times a year in Phuket. During the 1990s, that number had risen to 65.

Most dramatically, during the last decade, we experienced 74 days of thunderstorms in Phuket each year on average.

Average wind speeds in Phuket have also been increasing. Not only are thunderstorms happening more often, they seem to be intensifying as well. From the beginning of 2010 through to the end of 2011, we have had an average of 75 thunderstorms per year in Phuket.

Just like the cyclones and tropical storms that occur elsewhere, each time they happen they damage infrastructure, take their toll on property and endanger human lives on the island and out at sea.

Those of us who have been in Phuket long enough will agree that weather conditions here are indeed intensifying.

Some factors, like temperature increases, may not be apparent, but the increasingly destructive storms and floods are becoming more difficult for islanders to ignore.

Each year, we see more accidents happening due to bad weather. Landslides are becoming a common sight. Such effects are not only felt in Phuket.

Last year Bangkok and much of central Thailand was submerged under flood waters for months, due to weeks of relentless rain.

Earlier this year, several areas in Phuket, including Phuket Town experienced their fair share of flooding.

It is hard to predict whether climate conditions will become more extreme in the coming years, but from what we have experienced in the past few decades, it will not hurt us to be prepared.

— Anand Singh

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Things that have changed in Thailand in the Covid Era | Top 10 | VIDEO

The Thaiger



Things that have changed in Thailand in the Covid Era | Top 10 | VIDEO | The Thaiger

Top 10 things that have changed in Thailand during the Covid-era Things have changed. In some cases they’ve changed a lot and may never be the same again. Many people are suffering as a result of the impacts of lockdowns and the border closures. Some people are being forced to re-invent their lives as a result. Here are some of the main things we believe have changed since January this year. Face Masks The now every-present face mask is now with us for a long time. In Asia, it was never uncommon to see people wearing face masks, for traffic, […]

Continue Reading


Riding and renting a motorbike in Thailand | Top 10 tips | VIDEO

The Thaiger



Riding and renting a motorbike in Thailand | Top 10 tips | VIDEO | The Thaiger

Motorbikes and scooters are the most popular mode of transport in Thailand, and most of south east Asia. In many cases, they’re the ‘engine’ for the local economies. Most of them just go and go and go, they’re astonishingly reliable. Getting around on a motorbike is easy enough and will get you to your destination faster, whilst the cars and trucks are plodding along in the traffic. But riding a motorbike in Thailand can also be very dangerous. If you stick to the common sense basics – ride within the speed limits, wear a bike helmet, obey the traffic rules […]

Continue Reading


Khao San Road to reopen for Halloween

Caitlin Ashworth



Khao San Road to reopen for Halloween | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: The Club Khaosan

The party is coming back to Khao San Road this Halloween. The once booming backpacker district went through a renovation during the lockdown period and now the Bangkok governor says they’re ready to reopen the street. Khao San Road has long been a district frequented by foreign backpackers. It’s known for it’s grungy and lively bar scene as well as its eccentric mix of street food, like scorpion on a stick. During the lockdown, 48.4 million baht was put into the streets for major renovations like leveling out the road and footpaths, adding some gutters and designating space for emergency […]

Continue Reading
Follow The Thaiger by email: