Dr. Svetlana Jevrejeva, Principal Research Scientist, National Sea Level Programme, Singapore

By Yun Xuan Poon

Women in GovTech Special Report 2020.

How do you use technology/policy to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your role or organisation.

I am working for the Centre for Climate Research Singapore (CCRS), the research unit of the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) under the National Environment Agency (NEA). My role is to provide scientific leadership for the research work in the Climate Impact Branch at CCRS. In our studies we utilise a wide range of tools and data sets, e.g. for future climate projections we are running our models on the National Supercomputer Centre (NSCC).  The main aim of our branch activity is to conduct studies on climate change impact in Singapore, making use of the latest climate projections to assist decision making regarding the adaptation options to climate change.

What was the most impactful project you worked on this year?

My research priority for this year was to initiate the new framework for future sea level projections for Singapore. I will lead the work to estimate future sea level rise with specific emission scenarios, combining the contribution from ice mass loss from the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, glaciers and thermal expansion of the ocean due to global warming. Our low-lying tropical island is highly vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise and we are facing unprecedented challenges to adapt to rising seas. I hope our new framework will contribute to the improvement of risk analysis and provide robust scientific evidence to select the vital options for adaptation in coastal regions densely populated by homes, business districts and crucial national infrastructure.

This work is part of our contribution to Singapore’s 3rd National Climate Change Projections project, which is planned to be completed by the end of 2022.

What is one unexpected learning from 2020?

For me, 2020 has been an  exceptional year. No doubt, Covid-19 has impacted our lives. However, I would remember this year being overwhelmed by how ordinary people do extraordinary things overcoming challenging conditions in our daily routines. In particular, I’d like to say a huge thank you to IT personnel, for keeping us connected to our family and friends.

What tool or technique particularly interests you for 2021?

I would like to learn more about how I could effectively communicate our science to the policy makers and general public.

What are your priorities for 2021?

To create the opportunity for young scientists in my team to have further development in their expertise in climate change research.

What advice would you give to women looking to start a career in GovTech?

Go for it. We need fresh ideas, new contacts, and your advanced skills in many areas and we would support you, if there are any challenges. You will make a difference.

Write a message for your future self.

Be ambitious, your work is making a difference.