El Niño in East Nusa Tenggara 2023: A Climate Challenge Requiring Action


In 2023, the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) experienced a challenging demonstration of the effects of climate change, particularly through the El Niño phenomenon. This climatic event, characterized by an unusual warming of the Pacific Ocean, significantly altered the region’s rainfall patterns. The situation presented a pressing challenge to an area already grappling with climate extremes. 

Throughout the year, NTT was marked by prolonged dry spells, as evidenced by data from the Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG). In December, while most of the province experienced short dry periods ranging from 1 to 5 days, East Sumba and South Central Timor faced extended dry spells lasting up to 30 days. These long periods of aridity affected not just agricultural practices, but also severely strained water resources in these communities.  

Rainfall levels across NTT remained low, with most areas receiving between 0 to 50 mm in December 2023. The uneven distribution of rainfall was notable, with certain regions like East Manggarai, East Sumba, Rote, and South Central Timor experiencing higher levels of up to 300 mm. This disparity in rainfall underscores the complex and localized nature of climate impacts in the region. 

Heading into early 2024, the BMKG’s forecasts indicated a continued trend of low to moderate rainfall for most of NTT. The probability of receiving 21 to 50 mm of rainfall in early January was high, affecting the region’s agricultural cycles and water availability. 

Rahmatulloh Adji, head of the NTT Class II Climatology Station, highlighted that the persistence of El Niño into early 2024 would likely delay the onset of the rainy season and shorten its duration across Indonesia. The concurrent positive phase of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) was expected to further influence these climatic patterns, contributing to a delayed and erratic rainy season. 

In response to these challenges, BMKG and local authorities emphasized the need for community adaptation and mitigation efforts. Strategies such as water conservation, fire prevention, and health preparedness for respiratory infections were highlighted as critical. These efforts underscore the need for proactive and informed community participation in addressing the impacts of prolonged dry periods and irregular rainfall. 

The situation in NTT in 2023 serves as a stark reminder of the realities of climate change and the importance of sustainable environmental management. The experience of El Niño in this region underscores the need for ongoing climate monitoring, accurate forecasting, and community-centric adaptation strategies. As NTT and similar regions around the world continue to navigate these challenges, the role of organizations like BMKG in providing reliable information and guidance is increasingly crucial. The lessons learned from this year’s climatic challenges will be vital in shaping future responses and resilience strategies in the face of a changing climate.  

https://timesindonesia.co.id/peristiwa-daerah/482004/bmkg-merilis-hari-tanpa-hujan-di-ntt-ini-daerah-yang-mengalaminya https://mediaindonesia.com/nusantara/615179/bmkg-prakirakan-el-nino-di-ntt-bertahan-sampai-awal-2024