Indonesia is Scorching Hot! Caused by a Heatwave?

Jakarta and Surrounding Areas Experience Hot and Humid Weather Due to Equinox Phenomenon and Other Factors (illustration)

A heatwave is currently hitting most Asian countries. In some nations, the heatwave has even caused temperatures to soar up to 44 degrees Celsius. Indonesia is also experiencing a rise in temperature. Considering this temperature increase, is it true that a heatwave is also affecting Indonesia?

Dwikorita Karnawati, the Head of Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), offers clarity on the matter. Contrary to the heatwave gripping neighboring countries, Indonesia’s recent spell of hot weather isn’t categorized as a heatwave.

“Indeed, various Asian nations are grappling with the intense heat of a heatwave, with temperatures hitting alarming levels, notably in Thailand and Cambodia,” stated Dwikorita on Monday (6/5/2024), as reported by CNBC Indonesia. “However, Indonesia’s situation differs; we’re experiencing typical hot weather conditions.”

Diving deeper into the meteorological intricacies, Dwikorita pointed out Indonesia’s unique environmental factors that mitigate the formation of heatwaves. The country’s maritime conditions and rugged terrain play pivotal roles in influencing air circulation and temperature moderation, preventing the onset of heatwaves in the archipelago.

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“The warm waters surrounding Indonesia coupled with the presence of mountain ranges contribute to the dispersion of heat and frequent rainfall, effectively buffering against extreme temperature spikes,” she explained.

Attributing Indonesia’s current heat spell to surface heating caused by reduced cloud cover and precipitation, Dwikorita likened the prevailing muggy conditions to the transitional phase between the rainy and dry seasons. This period is characterized by clear mornings, scorching afternoons, and sporadic rainfall.

Meanwhile, Ardhasena Sopaheluwakan, Deputy Head of Climatology, shared crucial insights into recent temperature records across Indonesia. He highlighted that Palu recorded the highest maximum temperature at 37.8°C on April 23, with other regions also experiencing significant heat fluctuations. Maximum air temperatures above 36.5°C were recorded in several other regions, notably on April 21 in Medan, North Sumatra, reaching 37.0°C, and in Saumlaki, Maluku, reaching a maximum temperature of 37.8°C.

Based on BMKG’s observation network, Ardhasena stated that as of early May 2024, only 8% of Indonesia’s regions (56 Seasonal Zones or SZs) had entered the dry season. Regions that have entered the dry season include parts of Aceh, part of North Sumatra, northern Riau, around Pangandaran, West Java, part of Central Sulawesi, and part of North Maluku.

In the coming month, several regions are expected to enter the dry season, including parts of Nusa Tenggara, parts of Java, parts of Sumatra, parts of South Sulawesi, parts of Maluku, as well as eastern and southern parts of Papua.

“However, about 76% of Indonesia’s other regions (530 SZs) are still in the rainy season,” he added.

As Indonesia navigates its complex weather patterns, comprehending the underlying factors shaping its climate becomes paramount for preparedness and adaptation strategies. With BMKG’s unwavering commitment to monitoring and analyzing weather trends, the nation can proactively anticipate and respond to evolving climatic dynamics, safeguarding the well-being of its populace amidst varying weather conditions.