Northward shift of typhoon tracks brings more rain to PH – Pinoy scientist

Marje Pelayo   •   July 16, 2019   •   1348

Men watch waves crash at the coast as Typhoon Nepartak approaches in Yilan, Taiwan July 7, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

MANILA, Philippines – An average of 19 to 20 tropical cyclones enter the Philippine area of responsibility every year, eight to nine of which hit landmass.

A study conducted by Dr. Gerry Bagtasa of the U.P. Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology revealed that typhoon tracks have changed in the past five decades due to climate change.

Since 2000, Bagtasa explained, tropical cyclones used to hit Mindanao just like tropical storm ‘Pablo’ in 2012 and ‘Sendong’ in 2011.

However, recent observations showed that more cyclones are taking the upward direction towards Taiwan and are bringing more rains into the country than in previous years.

Dr. Bagtasa said that while tropical cyclones enhance the southwest monsoon, about 30% of rainfall is added to the volume of rains the country experiences during a weather disturbance.

When a tropical cyclone makes landfall or directly hits the country, about 10% to 15% of rain is added, the environmental scientist said.

Dr. Bagtasa noted that in the 60’s, the Philippines used to have only up to 18 days of heavy rains due to enhanced southwest monsoon in a year.

But this has changed in the recent years as the country now experiences up to 26 days or almost a month of heavy rains in one year.

“Ang bagyo kasi kapag nasa tabi siya ng Taiwan, iyon ang humihila ng Habagat. Ngayon mas marami ang bagyong pumupunta roon, (Cyclones enhance habagat when it nears Taiwan. More cyclones are taking that direction now,)” Bagtasa said.

Based on his study, Dr. Bagtasa believes the typhoon track will change further as cyclones will move even upward and cross Japan from the years 2025 to 2050.

Possibly, he said, this will reduce the amount of rains in the Philippines and will bring huge impact on the water level in dams.

“Imagine natin kung nawala itong bagyong ito, kalahati ng tubig natin mawawala, kalahati ng fresh water, (Imagine us without cyclones. Half of our water source would diminish, half of our fresh water supply,) he added.

Dr. Bagtasa attributed this change in typhoon track to climate change.

“Maaaring manifestation ito ng climate change, (This can be a manifestation of climate change,) he said.

“Kasi sa nakikita ng ibang mga pagaaral sa paginit ng karagatan dito sa may Indonesia, pag umiinit yung dagat doon yung mga bagyo medyo umaakyat papuntang Taiwan, (Based on studies on the warming of sea surface temperature in Indonesia, when the ocean gets hotter, cyclones move upward, towards the direction of Taiwan,) he said further.

He noted that carbon dioxide (CO2) contributes largely to the warming of the global temperature.

Emissions of CO2 can be traced back in the 17th century and through time, it reaches to a historic high of 406 parts per million.


Though there were attempts to reduce it to 350 parts per million in the past decade, it instead increased year after year.

“Nagsunog tayo ng coal or gasolina, ang lalabas na carbon dioxide, (When we burn coal or petroleum, it emits carbon dioxide,)” Dr. Bagtasa explained.

“Ang kalahati niyan ma-a-abosorb ng karagatan at saka ng mga plants. Ang kalahati ang mag-i-stay siya sa atmosphere for 100 years at ipon lang siya ng ipon, (Half of which is absorbed by the ocean and plants. The other half stays in the atmosphere for the next 100 years, and continues to accumulate,)” he warned.

As compared to other countries, Dr. Bagtasa noted, the Philippines contribute only less than 1% to the global CO2 emissions while developed nations like China, America and the European Union produce 60%. – with details from Rey Pelayo

Thick haze covers Singapore as neighbors continue to burn forests

UNTV News   •   September 18, 2019

Haze continued to blanket Singapore for a fifth consecutive day on Wednesday (September 18) as forest fires continued to rage in neighboring countries.

Every dry season, smoke from fires to clear land for palm oil and pulp and paper plantations in Indonesia clouds the skies over much of the region, raising concerns about public health and worrying tourist operators and airlines.

The 24-hour Pollution Standards Index, which Singapore’s National Environment Agency uses as a benchmark, was in a range of 111-126 in the afternoon, while PM2.5 ranged 83-115. A reading above PSI 100 is considered unhealthy. The World Health Organization sets a daily mean air quality guideline of 25 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter of air.

Singapore’s air quality deteriorated to “unhealthy” levels on Saturday (September 14) for the first time in three years. (REUTERS)

(Production: Travis Teo, Nur-Azna Sanusi, Yiming Woo, Pedja Stanisic, Afiq Satikin, Arshad Muhammad Satikin, Joseph Campbell)

Chile withers as 70% of the country stricken by drought

UNTV News   •   September 18, 2019

Chile is drying up and the problem is getting worse. A drought currently affects over 70% of the country according to the country’s climate change office and the previous decade has been the driest on record.

Sabina Martinez is the local secretary for potable water of the municipality of Runge, a rural area some 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of the capital, Santiago. She says it has barely rained at all this year, the town’s reservoir is dry, and the summer – with its higher level of water usage – hasn’t even begun yet.

Runge’s human population isn’t alone in feeling the effects of the drought, and a program is underway to transport over 3,000 domestic animals from the area around Runge 400 kilometers (248 miles) south to an area that isn’t quite so parched.

Estefania Gonzalez of Greenpeace Chile says the government should enact policies to both combat climate change and regulate the use and abuse of local water.

Gonzalez notes that Chile will be in the spotlight on climate change given it will host the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP25, in Santiago, from December 02 to 13 this year. (REUTERS)

(Production: Jorge Vega)

Australian government downgrades outlook to ‘very poor’ for Great Barrier Reef

Jeck Deocampo   •   August 30, 2019

The Great Barrier Reef

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is in very poor condition because of climate change, coral bleaching events and the predator crown-of-thorns starfish, the government said on Friday (August 30), as it downgraded its status to the lowest level, which could threaten its World Heritage listing.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) said the health of the reef had deteriorated since its last review in 2014, but the problems the reef faces were not insurmountable.

The report, which is compiled every five years, painted a deteriorating picture of widespread coral bleaching, habitat loss and degradation caused by human-induced climate change, overfishing, poor water quality, and coastal land clearing for grazing.

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee last year called for global action on climate change to protect five coral reefs, including the Great Barrier Reef. The committee is due to consider the reef’s heritage listing, considering its health and a possible “in-danger” status. (REUTERS)

(Production: Stefica Nicol Bikes)

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