Impact of SRM on Hydro-climatic Extremes in Malaysia

Host institution

Universiti Sains Malaysia

Grant year


Project summary

Climate change is increasing the risk of floods and droughts, leading to huge losses for economies and populations. In Malaysia, extreme precipitation from mid-December 2021 to early 2022 led to devastating flooding, killing more than 50 people, affecting more than 125,000 people, and resulting in financial losses of nearly US$1.5 billion. Similarly, prolonged dry spells have caused serious damage to the agricultural and water sectors. How might the deployment of SRM affect these trends? A team led by Dr Mou Leong Tan, of the Universiti Sains Malaysia, will evaluate its potential impact in the Muda River Basin (MRB), which supplies vital freshwater to the northern states in Peninsular Malaysia. The findings will be disseminated to local government agencies and civil society, and will enable four early career scientists, including a final year Ph.D. student, fully engage with SRM research in Malaysia.

The team

Dr mou leong tan profile
Universiti Sains Malaysia
Mou Leong Tan is an Associate Professor with the Geoinformatic Unit at the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). He is also the Vice-President of Water Watch Penang, an NGO that aims to create a water-saving society in Malaysia. He currently serves as the academic editor of Plos One, and is on the editorial board of HydroResearch, Geografia, and the Journal of Asian Geography. Dr Tan received his PhD in remote sensing from the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, with a focus on hydroclimatic modelling. He was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at the National University of Singapore and held the position of a visiting scholar to Fudan University, China. He has served as the principal investigator for numerous national and international grants through the Newton-Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) fund, and the Ministry of Higher Education in Malaysia.
Universiti Sains Malaysia
Chun Kiat Chang is a senior lecturer and stormwater engineer at the River Engineering and Urban Drainage Research Centre, at the Universiti Sains Malaysia. He is both a practising engineer and researcher, with over 20 years’ experience in river and stormwater-related research. He holds an MSc (2006) and PhD (2018) in river and urban drainage management from the Universiti Sains Malaysia. Dr Chang’s research has been published in international journals and conference proceedings.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
Juneng Liew’s research interests encompass various aspects of tropical meteorology and regional climate dynamics over the Southeast Asia region, with a specific focus on interannual, and long-term climate change timescales. He has worked closely with various agencies in Malaysia, including the Department of Environment, the Malaysia Meteorological Department, and the Drainage and Irrigation Department.. He is an active participant in regional research collaboratives, including the World Climate Research Program Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment – Southeast Asia Domain (CORDEX-SEA), which is currently run and led by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. He has experience in running regional climate models to provide high-resolution climate projections for Southeast Asia, for both regional users and for the IPCC’s assessments.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
Nurfashareena Muhammad is a research fellow based in the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s (UKM) Southeast Asia Disaster Prevention Research Initiative (SEADPRI-UKM), at the Institute for Environment and Development. Her expertise is in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and geographical information systems. She currently leads the Special Topic Group (STG) on Young Professionals in DRR and Climate Change, which is part of the Asian Network on Climate Science and Technology (ANCST). She is a co-leader of U-INSPIRE Malaysia at UKM, a platform for Malaysian youth and young professionals to accelerate the implementation of DRR through Science, Engineering, Technology and Innovation (SETI). Her research interests include optimising the use of geospatial technology in decision support systems, to facilitate knowledge-based decision making for land use planning and development, and to reduce the risk of disasters at the local level. She is a Geo-spatialist registered with the Institution of Geospatial and Remote Sensing, Malaysia.
Universiti Sains Malaysia
Yi Lin Tew is currently a PhD (Geography-remote sensing) student at the Universiti Sains Malaysia under the supervision of Dr Mou Leong Tan. She is investigating the relationship between land use changes and hydroclimatic changes within the Kelantan river basin. Her other research interests include land use and land cover mapping using remote sensing. She has also taken part in local government projects to analyse the impact of COVID-19 on the social-economic lives of people in the northern region of Malaysia.

Photo credits

Banner: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia satellite image – Copernicus Sentinel-2 (2020) Credit: ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO.

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