To write a new regional history focusing on interactions between human societies and natural environments in terms of water, a major task is to collect information on the nature in the past and to convert it into analytical data. Searching for new materials, reexamining conventional data from different perspectives, and fill in the vacuum of data with models and simulations are the crucial tactics. This section features essays introducing the key data and archives in this project and interviews with the scholars engaging in their analyses.
is a set of meteorological data observed in Batavia from 1866 by the Royal Magnetical and Meteorological Observatory at Batavia, which played a central role in the meteorological observation in Netherlands East Indies. Remarkably this data set includes hourly data of pressure, humidity, and precipitation.
is a set of precipitation records made at various posts in Netherlands East Indies. At the start in 1879, observations were made at 124 posts mostly in Java, and the number gradually increased to 225 in 1900 beyond Java, and further to 581 in 1916.
While the above-mentioned two sets of data are partly housed at libraries of various universities, they are most complete at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (Koninklijk Nederlands Metrologisch Instituut, KNMI). In 2010-11, this institute and the Institute for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geography of Indonesia (Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi, dan Geofisika, BMKG) organized a joint project “Digitalization of Historical Data (Digitisasi Data Historis, DiDaH), digitalizing historical meteorological data after 18501. The data after 1901 have been open for public as Southeast Asian Climate Assessment & Dataset Project (SACA&D)2. Those before this year have been digitalized, but they have not been made public, with the data still in preparation (Atsushi Ota).
References and relevant works
Siswanto Siswanto, Geert van Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, Gerard van der Schrier, Rudmer Jilderda
and Bart van den Hurk, “Temperature, extreme precipitation, and diurnal rainfall changes in the urbanized Jakarta city during the past130 years,” International Journal of Climatology 36 (2016): 3207–3225.
R Kajita, “Historical precipitation data in Sumatra and Kalimantan from 1879 to 1900, by using Dutch colonial materials,” aIOP Conf. Series: Earth and Environmental Science 361 (2019) 012003.
are annual reports published by the Department of Agriculture, Industry, and Commerce of Netherlands East Indies. They indicate overviews of the agriculture, industry, and commerce every year with various kinds of statistics. In the section of agriculture, while most of the descriptions are about export crops, a part of them explains the situation of subsistence crops such as rice. They also mention climate as a cause of crop failure.
is a collection of very detailed maps and statistics about the agriculture of Java and Madura, published by the Department of Agriculture, Industry, and Commerce of Netherlands Dutch Indies. This is an indispensable material to study the agriculture in these regions in c. 1916-24.
is a collection of data regarding the nine most important native crops in Java and Madura. It indicates the average (partly monthly) data from 1920 to 1925 in the indices such as production of crops and occupation of arable lands. The data are organized per area and per crop.
Uemura Yasuo, “The food problem and the Javanese society in the late 1910s and 1920,” Toyo-shi Kenkyu 57-3 (1998): 552-585.