National

Drought comes late this
year: BMKG

The dry season has come a little late this year as some areas will still have a chance for rain showers, a senior official says.

The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG)’s deputy director general for climatology, Widada Sulistya, said Monday that Indonesian should have already entered the dry season in May, although in fact, some areas were still experiencing the rainy season.

“The drought will not be too dry this year. In some areas there will still be some rain during the dry season, although the rain showers will not occur as what happened in 2010. Currently, we occasionally have rain, but it is not as wet as in 2010. During that year [2010], rain fell throughout the year,” he said.

Citing the BMKG data, he said that about 65 percent of a total of 342 season zones (ZOM) in Indonesia had entered the dry season. They include most areas in Java, the southern parts of Sumatra, such as Lampung, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) and West Nusa Tenggara (NTB).

Some 35 percent of areas in the country – including half of northern Sumatra (Riau and other areas further north), most areas in Kalimantan, and the northern and southern parts of Maluku – are still enduring the rainy season.

Widada said that this year, the influence of the Australian monsoon was quite weak. Therefore, during this year’s dry season rain showers were still possible in some areas, although it would not be as much as compared to that which occurred in 2010.

“The influences of La Nina and El Nino coming from the eastern part of Indonesia, as well as the dipole mode in the Indian Ocean, are still normal. Our ocean is also still quite warm and strong enough to supply water vapor,” he said, adding that with these four factors, Indonesia still had the potential for rain even during its dry season.

In Jakarta and its surrounding areas, such as Bogor, as well as areas in West Java such as Cianjur, for example, rains still occasionally occur, although they have entered the dry season. Other regions also have similar conditions, except those which have long been known as areas with almost no rainfall during dry season, such as Wonogiri in Central Java.

“In June, July and August, Wonogiri gets almost no rainfall. However, in other areas, such as, Wonosobo [Central Java], Probolinggo and Malang [both in East Java], rain falls occasionally during the drought,” said Widada.

According to the BMKG, rainfall through June 18 remains normal for the country as a whole, although the rains have continued to occur in some areas.  

“This year, both rainy and dry seasons have tended not to be too extreme. No extreme drought has taken hold in any parts of our country as what happened in 2007, during which the long dry spell in that year damaged crops. At the same time, we have thus far not dealt with major flooding as occurred in 2010,” Widada said, adding that flooding was reported in only a few areas, including in Ambon, Maluku, as it was currently facing heavy rains.

Under such conditions, he said, particular areas still had enough water for agricultural purposes.

The BMKG’s spokesperson, Eko Suryanto, said the agency had provided the Agriculture Ministry the seasonal forecasts it needed to issue the agriculture calendar for farmers.

“We will issue rainy-season forecasts in early September at the latest,” he said.

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