Minister Luhut Recalls Weather Modification During G20 Summit

25 November 2022 11:54 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Pandjaitan, recalled the 'weather trick' that was used during the G20 Summit gala dinner held at Bali’s Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Cultural Park outdoor area on November 15. 

In his recent Instagram post, he revealed that a joint government team had carefully altered the weather – described as a weather modification process – to clear the skies during the international event. 

"A little flashback about the Weather Modification Technique (TMC) for the outdoor event of the 2022 G20 Summit, how science and technology combined with the hopes and prayers of various parties succeeded in proving it," said Luhut through his personal Instagram account, Thursday night, November 24.

The weather modification process took a few days to implement and eventually succeeded. He recalled accompanying President Joko Widodo in visiting the event’s preparation process prior to January 15 at GWK when heavy rain drenched the location as the men surveyed the gala dinner site. It was at this moment Luhut said he had glanced at the President who was stunned by the weather. 

"I saw the President's face pensive. It seems that what he was thinking at that time was the same as what I thought, we wanted the event to be held lively," said Luhut.

Impending Weather Modification Agency?

Returning from the GWK survey, Luhut immediately held a meeting with the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG); Indonesian Air Force; Ministry of PUPR; and weather modification technology expert, Tri Handoko Seto. To them, Luhut wanted to ensure that there would be clear skies on November 15 over the GWK Cultural Park area.

The weather modification scenario was then executed by dispersing salt above a number of areas that are included in the G20 Summit events. According to Luhut, the team of weather modifiers had to calculate precisely how much salt must be spread, all while constantly observing the thickness of the clouds in the area. 

He recalled there were eleven flights that carried 29 tons of salt to complete the mission. “You can imagine how much it costs to conduct such an operation,” he explained. 

Other key locations that state leaders visited during the series of G20 Summit side events were also part of the weather modification targets. Throughout the international event on November 15, the rain did fall over locations that were not hosting the event while key areas for the Summit remained dry.

Speaking to a weather expert following the G20 event, Luhut asked about the viability of implementing the same strategy for other scenarios. He implied that weather modification can be useful for cases involving land and forest fires, helping fill reservoirs prior to every dry season, and possibly preventing draughts. 

He then voiced his intention to have a dedicated agency in Indonesia to conduct the weather modifications, which other countries such as Thailand already have established. 

Francisca Christy Rosana

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