The patterns of rainfall vary greatly throughout the world and are influenced by numerous variables. The amount of precipitation in a location is influenced by a variety of factors, including the topography of the land, its proximity to water, latitude, the current temperature, wind patterns, etc.
Marker post Mile 50, located on a treacherous mining road in Papua's mist-covered Central Highlands, is about to challenge two long-reigning Indian champions for the title of the world's wettest location. Records are made to be broken, after all.
A total of 12,143 millimeters (mm) of rain have been measured on average during the past five years at Mile 50 by the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) and mining company Freeport Indonesia.
The lone public restroom on the highway connecting the lowland city of Timika with Freeport's Tembagapura mining town is located at Mile 50, which the firm refers to on its maps as Tanaga Panamen.
It does, in fact, also indicate the starting point of the road's 2,000-meter ascent to the Grasberg, an extinct volcano that is today one of the most lucrative and contentious copper and gold mines in the world.
With rain pouring on average 329 days every year, there is no hope of getting a tan there. In the Tembagapura area, the maximum annual rainfall total was 15,457.3mm in 1999, while the highest monthly total was 2,055.4mm in August 2017.
A dense mist that descends over the mountains almost daily prevents any helicopter flights into the town and forces mine employees from the lowlands to travel the three-hour distance through a small dirt road that is frequently targeted by rebel sniper fire.
Gesang Setyado, an environmentalist in Freeport, claims that the high, steep mountain sides produce a phenomena called the "orographic effect," in which rainy clouds that are traveling across the coastal plain and in from the ocean are suddenly pulled upward.
Papua has never been included among the ten wettest places in the world, but in 2014, statistics portal IndexMundi ranked Indonesia ninth among the 186 nations with the most annual precipitation, just behind Malaysia and Brunei.
Even the 24/7 Wall St website, which relies on information from the Global Historical Climatology Network, a project of the US Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), overlooked Papua while listing the allegedly 50 rainiest locations on planet.
The second wettest place on Earth is Mawsynram, which is found in the Indian state of Meghalaya. 11,871 millimeters of rain fall on it each year. The surrounding area's rugged geography forces the warm, humid monsoon winds from the Bay of Bengal to congregate around Mawsynram.
Source: World Atlas, Asia Times