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Coastal flooding forecast strengthened in Indonesia

Source(s):  World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

Indonesia is making progress in integrating coastal flood forecasting into its meteorological early warning system to increase protection against one of the major hazards impacting the country.

The Indonesian Coastal Inundation Forecasting Demonstration Project (CIFDP), led by the Indonesian Meteorological Climatological and Geophysical Agency, has successfully built a flood forecasting and warning capability for Jakarta and Semarang City, which face critical and ongoing flood challenges.  

The five-year demonstration phase has just ended and will now develop into the Indonesian Coastal Inundation Forecasting System, which is expected to be operational by April 2019. It is hoped to improve communications of early warnings to end-users and extend the forecasting system beyond Jakarta and Semarang City. Consideration will also be given to integrating this system with a tsunami warning capability, thus enabling a full end-to-end coastal inundation Multi Hazard Early Warning System (MHEWS). 

Indonesia has just over 99,000 km of coastline: the third longest in the world. Sitting amongst three tectonically active plates and within the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, Indonesia faces many natural hazards with devastating impacts. Coastal flooding is a major risk as a result of extreme weather and high tides. Earthquake-triggered tsunamis are another hazard, as was highlighted yet again in 2018 with tragic results.

Improving safety-related services is a fundamental priority of WMO. The Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) and the WMO Commission for Hydrology (CHy) initiated the Coastal Inundation Forecasting Demonstration Project (CIFDP) in recognition of a growing global coastal population and related need to develop efficient early warning systems.

CIFDP proved unique in bringing together stakeholders across a wide range of Indonesian government agencies and non-governmental organizations, as well as the hydrological and oceanographic communities. It demonstrated how the forecasting and warning system will provide significant benefits to coastal populations in Jakarta and Semarang City, and support the Sendai Framework on disaster risk reduction.

“This early warning for coastal flooding will be an integral part of the meteorological early warning system (MEWS) that has been built previously. We are working on increasing accuracy and evaluation completeness of supporting infrastructure,” said BMKG Deputy Director R Mulyono Prabowo at a meeting to assess the outcomes of the demonstration project.

The meeting in Bali, from 28 to 30 January, brought together representatives of different government agencies, end-user stakeholders, and the end users and technical experts involved in developing the system. They all gathered with BMKG, WMO and international partners to share the results of 5 years of collaborative effort. 

“CIFDP has enabled the development of an operational coastal warning system and strengthened the institutional development of BMKG staff over the past 5 years,” said Sarah Grimes of WMO. Five BMKG staff were trained in the project, up from one at the beginning. BMKG funded the work, with some contribution from the government of The Netherlands.

 “This project is an excellent example of forecast providers working closely with the end-user community from the beginning, and with the international experts, to jointly develop the forecast system. This has created a true sense of ownership of the project by Indonesia and supports sustainability and further enhancement of the Coastal Inundation Forecasting system,” said Val Swail, Co-Chair of the project Steering Group.

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  • Publication date 08 Feb 2019

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