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Jakarta wilts in unseasonal hot spell JAKARTA - Well into what should be the rainy season, Jakarta is suffering through record-high temperatures, and experts warn residents they can expect more of the same.The Meteorological and Geophysics Agency says Jakarta has recently seen temperatures as high as 36 degrees Celsius. Normally, the temperature in the city stays below 32 degrees in January.R
"This is the first time we have seen such high temperatures in January. If it stays this way through January, we might have a severe dry season instead (of a rainy season)," Achmad Zakir, the agency's head for weather forecasting, told The Jakarta Post on Saturday. He said the main factor in the lack of rain was the cumulonimbus clouds currently being trapped above the South China Sea.

"To make it worse, the clouds are then swept away by strong winds. So the sun's heat is beating down directly, without being filtered by clouds," he said. Achmad said that during the rainy season, wind speeds were usually between five and 10 knots. "However, winds are currently blowing at speeds up to 25 knots. Jakartans should be aware because such strong winds can topple trees or vulnerable structures," he said.

The agency earlier predicted the rainy season in Jakarta would peak between January and February. Zadrach L. Dupe, a meteorologist at the Bandung Institute of Technology, said recent temperatures in Greater Jakarta had passed beyond the "normal" range. "It is a strange trend. I suspect it is a sign of a 10-year cycle in which Jakarta may suffer severe dry seasons such as during 1997's El Nino," he said.

Indonesia in 1997 suffered severe droughts, which caused serious harvest failures and major forest fires. Some 300,000 hectares of forest burned that year and the haze from the fires disrupted the lives of millions of people across Southeast Asia. "The government needs to analyze what is happening to determine whether the heat is only a micro-change in Jakarta or something more," he said.

Zadrach said serious environmental degradation in Jakarta, mainly caused by unchecked development, contributed much to the extreme heat in the city. Jakarta is home to an estimated 10 million people during the night, and in the day its population swells to some 12 million.

Most of the city's green zones have been converted into commercial premises or have been illegally settled by poor migrants. Of its 60,000 hectares of land Jakarta currently has just 5,911 hectares of green areas, or 9 percent of its total territory. The administration has pledged to increase the amount of green spaces to 9,156 hectares, or 13.94 percent, by 2010.



Posted in Weather @ 14 January 2007 07:41 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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