In anticipation of more flooding to hit Jakarta over the next few days, the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology will use weather modification technology to try and alter the city’s forecast of torrential downpours.
Tri Handoko Seto, the head of the artificial rain division at the agency known as BPPT, told Detik.com that the agency would try and induce the rain from outside of Jakarta and its greater region to above the sea. The agency will use its two Casa airplanes and a military-owned Hercules airplane to perform the process of cloud seeding.
“Before the clouds enter Jakarta [sky], we’ll give them [cloud] seedings like salt that we have chemically processed,” he explained, adding that the idea was for Jakarta to be hit with light rain rather than a heavy downpour.
Aside from cloud seeding, the agency plans to also use 20 ground base seeding generators to control the rain between Jakarta’s coastal region to Bogor.
“These [generators] spray particles from the ground and tower,” Tri said. “So even though the clouds will develop into rain, the rain will fall elsewhere after the clouds have been carried away by the wind.”
Tri said that they would start the weather modification process on Saturday.
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has forecast torrential downpours in Jakarta from Jan. 26 – 29, mainly in the northern and western part of Jakarta and in the southern part of Bogor.
A hydrologist from the University of Indonesia, Firdaus Ali, predicted that the rain would bring floods worse than the one in 2007, when 231 square kilometers of the capital were submerged, killing 80 people and displacing 320,000 others.
“On Jan. 26, 27 and 28, there will be a full moon and rising tides on the beaches in the north of Jakarta,” he said. “If the intensity of the rain in the city is still high, and the floods from Puncak and Bogor are factored in, then it is certain that parts of Jakarta will drown.”
But Andi Arief, a presidential adviser on disaster management and social affairs, dismissed the prediction. He said Jakarta would not drown and suggested Firdaus differentiate the meaning of “being inundated” and “drowning.”