Ari Supriyanti Rikin, Jakarta – The unusually high daytime temperatures currently experienced in several parts of Indonesia are expected to persist over the next seven days, the national weather bureau said, advising the public to avoid sun exposure as far as possible and to stay hydrated.
A weather station in Tangerang, Banten, just outside Jakarta, registered 39.6 degrees Celsius – the highest temperature ever recorded in the archipelago – on Wednesday and Thursday. The previous record was 39.5 degrees Celsius, recorded in Semarang, Central Java, in 2015.
Fachri Radjab, head of the Public Meteorology Center at the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), said the sweltering conditions would generally occur in the southern parts of Indonesia.
"The reason is the perceived motion of the sun. The sun is currently still around the equator, so [we receive] maximum radiation," Fakhri said, referring to the shift of the sun's position across the sky throughout a year, in accordance with Earth's solar orbit.
From September, the sun is situated near the equator as it moves toward the southern hemisphere until reaching its furthest point in December. The sun will be above the southern part of Indonesia, over South Sulawesi, Java, Bali, West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara, in October.
Fakri said minimal cloud cover, due to the prolonged dry season, was exacerbating the situation.
The BMKG has advised people affected by the hot weather to drink enough water to avoid dehydration and to wear clothing that can protect the skin from the sun.
It also urged people to be aware of activities that may trigger forest and brush fires, especially in high-risk areas.
Several BMKG observation stations in Sulawesi have recorded temperature above 37 degrees Celsius since Oct. 19.
Hasanuddin Meteorological Station in Makassar, South Sulawesi, recorded a temperature of 38.8 degrees Celsius, followed by Maros Climatology Station at 38.3 degrees Celsius and Sangia Ni Bandera Meteorological Station at 37.8 degrees Celsius.
Next week, there is still potential for blistering temperatures as the sun continues to move south and dry atmospheric conditions hinder the growth of cloud cover, Mulyono R. Prabowo, deputy head of meteorology at the BMKG, said in a statement on Wednesday.
He also denied social media rumors that Indonesia was currently experiencing a heatwave. "Indonesia is currently affected by high temperatures but not a heatwave. The heatwave phenomenon does not occur in Indonesia," he said.