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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

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

 Indonesoa Partnership Picture A
Participants in the a workship held in September 2013 with staff of the Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Indonesia (Photo courtesy Dr. Kuswanto)

To open project activities, the project team collected a daily series of meteorological information spanning the years 1967-2009 from the Directorate of Water Resources. Those data were validated using data from the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency of Indonesia. The team has calculated descriptive statistics for the series and is analyzing the R outputs for the Extreme Weather Events (EWE) investigation in the Indramayu area. The team has been working with the synoptic map for the climate data collection, and that map is being converted into a binary data array to produce composite maps. Meanwhile, PI Heri Kuswanto visited U.S. collaborator Richard Grotjahn at the University of California, Davis for 10 days in December 2013. The main topics of discussion included identification of extreme rainfall events, meteorological variables to be considered in composite analysis, and data sources to be accessed. During his visit, the PI drafted a paper, and after discussion with his U.S. partner he decided to submit it to the prestigious European Geophysical Union (EGU) general assembly. After receiving notification recently of his paper’s acceptance, Dr. Kuswanto will be traveling to Vienna in April 2014 to present it.
 
Until then, there will be opportunities to test out the forecasts of EWEs through weather patterns. It is hoped that the identification of EWE dates will be complete by spring, with validation through the examination of field conditions in Indramayu. Once meteorological variables and geographic areas are accounted for, datasets related to the EWE dates are to be downloaded, bootstrapped, and analyzed. At the same time, a website containing information about this study will be in development, with results to be posted there after the EGU meeting. Dr. Kuswanto also plans a return to Davis in June 2014.
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