Climate change triggers heatwaves in Asia, watch out for its impacts

Jakarta – The heatwave that is currently sweeping across a number of countries in Asia, especially in the Southeast Asian region, has raised concerns about its damaging effects. The phenomenon has killed dozens of people, damaged crops, and even forced the governments of some countries to temporarily suspend face-to-face learning activities.

However, some countries in the region, such as Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, have not felt the same impact even though temperatures have risen quite high.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) Deputy for Meteorology Guswanto said the hot temperatures in Indonesia are related to the seasonal transition period, from the rainy to the dry season. “Some parts of Indonesia are starting to experience the beginning of the dry season, and some other areas are experiencing a seasonal transition or transition period. So, the potential for hot temperature phenomena and sunny conditions during the day still dominates the weather in general in early May 2024,” Guswanto said in an official statement.

Based on BMKG data, Monday, May 6, the highest temperatures in Indonesia are expected to occur in Semarang and Surabaya, reaching 35°C. Meanwhile, Jakarta’s temperature is expected to range from 24-32°C.

Uncontrolled temperature rise can have a detrimental impact on the environment and society as a whole. Therefore, measures to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment must continue to be scaled up to safeguard our planet from worse impacts in the future.

As such, governments, communities and all stakeholders in Asia, especially in the affected regions, need to work together to meet this challenge in a sustainable and comprehensive way.

According to a report from CBS News, the ongoing heatwave in South and Southeast Asia is triggered by the El Niño weather phenomenon that has been ongoing since March 2023. This is believed to have exacerbated the situation, with global warming making matters worse. However, scientists are still divided on how much of a role El Niño played in triggering the heatwave.

“I think it’s a combination of El Niño, global warming and seasonal changes. El Niño itself is transitioning to La Niña, and this is the time when maximum warming occurs in the Indian Ocean,” Raghu Murtugudde, climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Technology Mumbai told CBS News.

However, this view is not fully accepted by all scientists. Krishna AchutaRao, a scientist at the Indian Institute of Technology’s Center for Atmospheric Sciences, expressed doubt about El Niño’s role in the heatwave that hit Asia last year. According to him, heatwave patterns are not always directly linked to El Niño.

Despite the differences in opinion, the majority of experts agree that climate change is one of the main causes of the extreme heat. The World Weather Attribution (WWA) even concluded that heatwaves like this year’s are impossible without significant climate change.

Although Indonesia is not affected by heatwaves like its neighboring countries, climate change remains a serious issue that needs to be watched out for. (Hartatik)

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