Motorbikes splash through deep puddles of water after heavy rains lashed the Semanggi area of Jakarta on Wednesday, 18 August 2010. JG Photo / Safir Makki

By Nurfika Osman
August 19, 2010

Jakarta. Indonesia has been experiencing its most extreme weather conditions in recorded history, meteorologists warned on Wednesday as torrential rains continued to pound the capital.

All regions across the archipelago have been experiencing abnormal and often catastrophic weather, an official from the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said.

“We have reached a super-extreme level of weather this year, the first time in our history, and this is much worse than what we experienced back in 1998, when the La Niña caused extreme weather in the country,” Edvin Aldrian warned.

Edvin, who leads the climate change and air quality division at the agency, told the Jakarta Globe that a combination of a heating planet and the La Niña climate cycle were behind the unseasonable downpours.

“The combination of global warming and the La Niña phenomenon makes everything exceed normalcy,” he said, adding that global warming causes higher temperature in sea waters, and La Niña boosts humidity and the likeliness of rains.

Sea temperatures, Edvin said, were also at a level considered normal for Indonesia’s rainy season, not for the dry season. “It is about 28 to 29 [degrees] Celsius now. Normally, for August it should have been around 24 to 26 degrees.” …

He also said the extreme conditions were causing high waves, posing a threat to ships in Indonesian waters. “At the least, the waves will reach 3.5 meters and can reach up to more than five meters. And strong winds can make the waves even higher. …

The extreme weather has already affected the country’s agricultural output, especially in Java where there are many farms, said Winny Dian Wibawa, the Agriculture Ministry’s director for horticulture. …

The capital has seen heavy downpours in the past two days, causing deep inundations and burst river banks. On Tuesday, at least five neighborhoods in South Jakarta reported flooding.

‘Super-Extreme’ Weather Is the Worst on Record

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