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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 2 (2012 Deadline)

Exploring the dynamic of extreme weather events in Indonesia using large scale meteorological pattern as the forecast guidance (pilot study: Indramayu, West Java)

PI: Heri Kuswanto (Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember)
U.S. Partner: Richard Grotjahn (University of California, Davis)
Project Dates: August 2013 to July 2015

Indonesoa Partnership Picture 2
Adji Linarka, a staffer at the R&D department of BMKG Jakarta, trains project staff to use the Grads software program (Photo courtesy Dr. Kuswanto)

Extreme Weather Events (EWEs) cause negative impacts socially, economically, and environmentally. EWEs also influence planning and management decisions by utilities and governments. Indonesia has been identified as being among the countries most vulnerable to the risk of natural disasters, such as floods, heat waves, and droughts. Considering these facts, forecasting EWEs is crucial work. This project focuses on heavy rain and heat waves, two dominant EWEs for countries like Indonesia that are located in tropical regions. Current forecasting of extreme events in Indonesia is carried out by interpreting synoptic maps for several fields without taking into account the link between the observed events in the “target” area with remote conditions. Moreover, the forecast decision subjectively depends on the ability and experience of the forecaster. This situation may cause misidentification of the event leading to an inaccurate prediction. This project examines EWEs in Indonesia’s Indramayu District as a pilot study.

In particular, the project aims to develop a supporting tool for forecasting EWEs based on the corresponding large-scale meteorological pattern (LSMP). LSMPs are composite weather maps linked to each type of EWE. Finding and using such LSMP maps has improved the reliability of EWEs forecast in the United States. One novelty of the research to be carried out in this project is the development of the method for a tropical extreme weather pattern. The currently used forecast model often misses local details of the tropical meteorological climate system, which reduces forecast reliability. The LSMP methodology focuses on the larger-scale pattern that the model is better able to forecast, as that larger-scale pattern creates the conditions fostering the local EWE. The bias of the model will be removed prior to the data analysis. Collaboration between Indonesian and U.S. partners will promote knowledge transfer, training, and advancements for Indonesian researchers. The expertise of the U.S. partner is expected to strengthen the Indonesian capacity to forecast EWEs in Indonesia, so that losses and risks caused by such events can be minimized. The project also includes collaboration with the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) Indonesia, an institution with official authority to set policy regarding EWEs, so BMKG staff and students participating in project-related workshops and seminars will also benefit from capacity building. Through this project, a new research group on extreme weather/climate events will also be established at Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember, affiliated with the institute’s Research Center for Earth, Disaster, and Climate Change.
Summary of Recent Activities
PI Dr. Heri Kuswanto visited his U.S. collaborator Dr. Richard Grotjahn at the University of California, Davis, October 19-31, 2014. The main purpose of the visit was to discuss and interpret recently created maps. From the discussion, the colleagues noted some unique tropical patterns and agreed to examine other maps that might represent the weather conditions better than the usual composite maps. Global significance maps will also need to be created in order to get a better understanding of the meteorological patterns. The PEER partners expect to meet again at the 26th International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics General Assembly in Prague June 22-July 2, 2015. Dr. Grotjahn is one of the conveners in a session entitled “Understanding and Predicting High-impact Weather and Climate Extremes” and he and Dr. Kuswanto are submitting a joint abstract for presentation.

Another key project milestone during the last quarter of 2014 was the launch of the website of Dr. Kuswanto’s Research Group on Extreme Weather and Climate, which is now available at The Extreme-WeCaRe Group, one of the expected outcomes of the project, is the first of its kind at ITS and in all of Indonesia that focuses on research on extreme weather and climate in Indonesia and beyond. On November 27-28, 2014, Dr. Kuswanto chaired the International Conference on Statistics and Mathematics (ICSM) 2014. Held at the Majapahit Hotel, Surabaya, the event attracted about 150 scientists (about 100 statisticians and 50 mathematicians) from many countries, with about 60 percent being from Indonesia. Dr. Kuswanto made a presentation about his project and promoted the PEER program in general to the attendees. In December, he and his team members presented seminars for ITS undergraduate and master’s level students about the topic and progress on the PEER project. Many students expressed interest in joining the project, but only two could be accepted as research assistants. As part of the PEER team, they will carry out simple studies as their thesis projects.

Project Website 

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