Urban climate?? Why???
"Oi, why is Singapore so hot?"
I don't recall when my brothers first started asking me that question, to be honest.
I do, however, remember this single question being repeated incessantly during any occasion that we were outdoors while growing up in Singapore. When we were eating our weekly chicken rice lunches, or when playing football, or after we escape the heat (and deluge of humidity) by dashing indoors into the air-conditioned comfort of a shopping mall.
The question was at the back of my mind when I was an undergraduate in NUS, deciding between completing my Honours Thesis (HT) as an English Literature major or a Geography Major. After being told, in very polite but in no uncertain terms, by the great local poet (and fantastic mentor) Prof Leong Liew Geok that being a literary scholar would not be to my future, I went around asking Geography professors about what doing a HT entails.
The first question they asked was: "Do you have a research topic - or a question - in mind for your HT?"
I thought of my brothers. And so, I thank them for the stuff that I am doing today.
On a more serious note, this blog (and website) is something that Prof Roth and myself have been mulling over for a while. As investigators of urban climate, micro-meteorology, and as geographers, we've written a heck of a lot of words in academic journals & textbooks. We've instructed (or maybe bored) students at all levels (in several continents!) for a pretty long time, and we've been interviewed on TV, radio and print on numerous occasions [NB: It would be interesting to see the maturity of Prof Roth's hairstyle from his first interview to current ones :-)].
But up until now, we've not had a medium in which we can speak to readers interested in tropical urban climates about the stuff we do, or the stuff that we are concerned about, in an approachable manner.
Hence, this blog. You'll see a side of research and teaching that, hopefully, will let you understand why we're still so enamored by our study of urban climate...and also why my brothers now only infrequently ask that question when we meet.