Many parts of Southeast Asia and the Pacific may continue to experience moderate to exceptional water deficits in the coming months, particularly southern Sumatra, Java, Borneo and neighboring Sulawesi, and New Guinea. The 12-month map (below) shows the dominance of the deficits through June 2016. The map is based on observed data through September 2015 and forecasts issued the last week of September 2015.

In Papua New Guinea drought has claimed two dozen lives, and El Niño could leave four million people in the Pacific without food or water. The drought is expected to be the worst in five years in Indonesia, where people are selling their belongings to buy food and water. Nearly 100,000 hectares of rice has died and Indonesia may be forced to import rice. As paper, pulp, and palm oil companies clear land using slash-and-burn techniques, the prolonged drought may hinder efforts to put out these illegal fires

As seen in the 3-month maps (below) for the same time period, drought may be most widespread and severe October through December in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. Moderate water surpluses may emerge during this period in southern Thailand and northern Vietnam.

Deficits are expected to return and spread in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam for the remainder of the forecast period, with some areas experiencing both deficits and surpluses. From January through June drought may persist in parts of Borneo, Sulawesi, the Philippines, and New Guinea. (It should be noted that forecast skill declines with longer lead times.)


Many analyses reported in ISciences-authored blog posts are based on data generated by the ISciences Water Security Indicator Model (WSIM). Other sources, if used, are referenced in footnotes accompanying individual posts. WSIM is a validated capability that produces monthly reports on current and forecast global freshwater surpluses and deficits with lead times of 1-9 months at 0.5°x0.5° resolution. This capability has been in continuous operation since April 2011 and has proven to provide reliable forecasts of emerging water security concerns in that time-frame. WSIM has the ability to assess the impacts of water anomalies on people, agriculture, and electricity generation. Detailed data, customized visualizations, and reports are available for purchase.

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