Equinox Phenomenon on March 20 signals warmer days ahead

By @vitthernandez on
Spring Equinox
People raise their hands as the sun shines directly through a window of the Temple of the Seven Dolls in the Mayan city of Dzibilchaltun in the state of Yucatan March 21, 2015. Reuters/Lorenzo Hernandez

National weather agencies have started to warn residents of warmer days ahead as the Equinox Phenomenon takes place on Sunday, March 20. During an equinox, which happens twice a year, the Sun is in its zenith over the Equator and the day and night are generally of equal length.

For people in the Northern Hemisphere, the March 20 event is the spring or vernal equinox, but for people in the Southern Hemisphere, it is the autumnal equinox, explains National Geographic. During those two days – usually March 21 and Sept 22 – the subsolar point, the area where the Sun’s rays shine perpendicular to the Earth’s surface or a right angle - is directly on the Equator.

During these two days, the Earth’s 23.5-degree axis is not tilting toward or away from the Sun. Instead the centre of the Sun is in the same plane as the Equator.

Because of the phenomenon, the National Environment Agency (NEA) of Singapore warned residents on Wednesday to brace for temperatures as high as 36ᵒC on some days. The usual March temperature in the city-state is around 27ᵒC, but for 2016 the NEA forecasts it could by 9ᵒC higher.

NEA says March’s weather would likely be comparable to 1998, the hottest recorded March in Singapore, when the average temperature was 29.5ᵒC. It based the prediction on the El Nino weather phenomenon, dry and warm air mass over the region and the equinox.

Malaysian Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau forecast scorching heat on March 20, reports The Star Online. If the temperature goes above 35ᵒC for five straight days or 37ᵒC for three consecutive days, the current hot spell could cause a heatwave.

The minister reminded Malaysians, especially children and senior citizens, to take precaution when engaged in outdoor activities such as drinking more water to prevent dehydration.