Northward shift of typhoon tracks brings more rain to PH – Pinoy scientist
Marje Pelayo • July 16, 2019 • 1348
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
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