Unseasonal rains will continue into July, a month longer than previously forecast, due to an unexpected rise in the sea temperature, the weather agency announced Friday.
The one-month delay in the arrival of the dry season is expected to occur across the archipelago, Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) spokeswoman Sri Woro Harijono said.
Earlier, the agency had predicted this year’s dry season in 52 weather zones from Sumatra, Java, Bali, Sulawesi to Maluku would come between May and June.
“We recorded the highest-ever sea temperature in June 2010 and that is still causing massive amounts of evaporation triggering heavy rains,” Sri told a press conference.
She said rains with moderate to heavy intensity would likely continue to hit most parts of Indonesia until the middle of July.
“The main cause of the delay of the dry season is the rise in sea temperature, but the likelihood of the La Niña phenomena also contributes to the extreme weather changes in Indonesia.”
The agency divides Indonesia into 220 weather zones.
In March, the BMKG issued its annual prediction of weather in Indonesia with the dry period
being predicted to begin June at the latest.
But as of June 18, heavy rains continue to hit a number of cities across the country, including Jakarta, causing widespread flooding and triggering heavy traffic.
The changes in the weather will affect millions of people in the country, especially farmers and fishing communities who rely heavily on regular weather patterns.
The latest forecast shows southern Jakarta, eastern parts of Indramayu in West Java, Jambi in Sumatra, Badung and Bulelang in Bali and northern parts of central Maluku would be among the locations that could experience a delayed dry season.
The dry season, including in western part of Maros, Makassar and southern parts of Gowa in Sulawesi, is expected to start on the third week of June, revised from the previous prediction of May.
“We should now talk in terms of regencies, not provinces, because the weather in central Jakarta will be different from that of West Jakarta,” she said.
Sri reported that international agencies such as the US National and Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Jamstec in Japan and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) also predicted a weak La Niña phenomena in Indonesia this year.
The BMKG forecast that the dry season would likely be shorter than the normal period running from April to September.
Sri said the agency had informed various sectors of the predictions, including agriculture and transportation authorities.
“We predict sea waves could reach 5 meters in some places in the coming few days,” she said.
The agency said sea waves in places such as the southern West Java Sea could reach between 4 meters and 5 meters this Saturday.
Experts have said that the increase in sea temperature would lead to the rise of sea levels and threaten people living in low-lying coastal areas.
The BMKG said that the increase in sea temperature was strong proof of global warming due to increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
“This is proof of the impact of global warming in Indonesia. However, the issue of changing weather continues to be overshadowed by the issue of carbon trading at climate change talks,” she said.