Climate Change Overview

Country Summary

This page presents high-level information for Malaysia's climate zones and its seasonal cycle for mean temperature and precipitation for the latest climatology, 1991-2020. Climate zone classifications are derived from the Köppen-Geiger climate classification system, which divides climates into five main climate groups divided based on seasonal precipitation and temperature patterns. The five main groups are A (tropical), B (dry), C (temperate), D (continental), and E (polar). All climates except for those in the E group are assigned a seasonal precipitation sub-group (second letter).  Climate classifications are identified by hovering your mouse over the legend. A narrative overview of Malaysia's country context and climate is provided following the visualizations.

Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification, 1991-2020
  • Af
  • Am
  • As/Aw
  • BWh
  • BWk
  • BSh
  • BSk
  • Csa
  • Csb
  • Csc
  • Cwa
  • Cwb
  • Cwc
  • Cfa
  • Cfb
  • Cfc
  • Dsa
  • Dsb
  • Dsc
  • Dsd
  • Dwa
  • Dwb
  • Dwc
  • Dwd
  • Dfa
  • Dfb
  • Dfc
  • Dfd
  • ET
  • EF

Malaysia is a tropical nation in Southeast Asia, comprised of the Malaysian Peninsula, and Malaysian Borneo. Malaysia features diverse land cover and topography, with a coastline of over 4,800 km, mountain ranges, and more than 50% forest cover. As of 2020, Malaysia had a population over 32 million and remains one of the most developed economies in the region. Around 22% of the population live in the greater area of the capital city, Kuala Lumpur. While poverty levels are comparatively low for the region, Malaysia has historically been characterized by high levels of income inequality, particularly evident in urban areas. In 2009 the World Bank estimated GINI in Malaysia at 46.3, indicating very high levels of income inequality. However, since then the Malaysian government has focused efforts to decline its GINI, suggesting movement towards a more equal society. As of 2018 Malaysia’s economy was service sector dominated (54.5% of national GDP), underpinned by manufacturing (23% of GDP). These sectors also dominate national employment and, in contrast to other Southeast Asian nations, agriculture employs only around 11% of the labor force.

While Malaysia remains one of the most biodiverse countries on Earth, the country battles with degradation of ecosystems, both in its wetland and forest habitats. Peninsular Malaysia has suffered significant deforestation since 1960s, but that has slowed down since the 1980s. The drivers of deforestation are complex, but agricultural expansion for crops like palm oil play a considerable role. Concerns have been raised that climate changes could accelerate the processes threating Malaysia’s natural resources. Malaysia’s Tenth (2011-2015) and Eleventh (2016-2020) National Plans have targeted significant investment at climate resilience enhancements. In 2018 the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment submitted Malaysia’s Third National Communication and Second Biennial Update to the UNFCCC. Malaysia ratified the Paris Climate Agreement and its Nationally Determined Contribution in November 2016.