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

Marje Pelayo   •   July 16, 2019   •   1559

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

UN warns of 3.2C temperature rise despite Paris Agreement

Robie de Guzman   •   November 26, 2019

Geneva – The average global temperature will rise 3.2C by the end of the century even if countries fulfill their commitments to the Paris Agreement on climate change, which sought to limit the increase to under 1.5C above preindustrial levels, according to the United Nations on Tuesday.

“The summary of the findings are bleak,” the UN Environment Programme said in the introduction to its annual Emission Gap Report, which analyses current climate change policies and how they diverge from the kind of measures that need to be adopted to curb global warming.

According to the report, there must be a collective effort to reduce emissions by 7.6 percent a year between 2020 and 2030 to keep global temperatures under 1.5C above preindustrial levels, a fivefold increase in the efforts initially set out by the Paris Agreement.

UNEP’s Executive Director, Inger Anderson, said: “Our collective failure to act early and hard on climate change means we now must deliver deep cuts to emissions – over 7 percent each year, if we break it down evenly over the next decade.”

“We need quick wins to reduce emissions as much as possible in 2020, then stronger Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to kick-start the major transformations of economies and societies. We need to catch up on the years in which we procrastinated.”

According to the report, if current unconditional Nationally Determined Contributions are fully implemented, there was still only a 66 percent chance that warming would be limited to 3.2C by the end of the century.

It concluded that emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases increased 1.5 percent annually in the last decade and reached historical levels of 55.3 gigatons of CO2 equivalent in 2018.

China was responsible for 13 of those gigatons but the Asian giant, the world’s second-largest economy, is not yet obliged to reduce its emissions in absolute terms as per the Paris Agreement due to its status as a developing country.

Second in regards to emissions was the United States with six gigatons. President Donald Trump withdrew the country from the Paris Agreement in 2017.

Emissions must be curbed by 15 gigatons by 2030 to achieve the 2C goal or 32 gigatons to hit the 1.5C target, the report said.

UNEP said that if current trends continued, then global temperatures could rise by 3.9C, although pledges to reduce emissions, such as the European Union’s target to curb them by 40 percent by 2030, could limit it to 3.2C, which is still insufficient.

The UN’s Secretary-General, António Guterres, said: “There has never been a more important time to listen to the science. Failure to heed these warnings and take drastic action to reverse emissions means we will continue to witness deadly and catastrophic heatwaves, storms and pollution.”

Recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change special reports said there would be dire consequences of inaction if the global temperature rises are not held below the 1.5C target.

The UNEP report on the emissions gap will be used as a template for discussions at the upcoming COP25 meeting in Madrid, conducted under the presidency this year of Chile. EFE-EPA


UN: Greenhouse gases hit another record high in 2018

Robie de Guzman   •   November 25, 2019

GENEVA – Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached record levels in 2018 despite international pledges to tackle the causes of climate change, the World Meteorological Organization said in a report Monday.

In its annual report published just before the COP25 summit in Madrid, the United Nations agency said the Carbon Dioxide levels reached 407.8 parts per million, up from 405.5ppm the previous years, which represents a 0.56 percent jump.

These figures show that CO2 emissions stood at 147 percent more than the preindustrial level in 1975.

“This continuing long-term trend means that future generations will be confronted with increasingly severe impacts of climate change, including rising temperatures, more extreme weather, water stress, sea level rise and disruption to marine and land ecosystems,” it warned.

The report said there were “multiple indications” that the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere was linked to the burning of fossil fuel.

“There is no sign of a slowdown, let alone a decline, in greenhouse gases concentration in the atmosphere despite all the commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said.

“We need to translate the commitments into action and increase the level of ambition for the sake of the future welfare of mankind.

“It is worth recalling that the last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago. Back then, the temperature was 2-3C warmer, sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now.”

According to the statement, the increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere between 2017-18 was similar to that recorded between 2016-17 and just above the average for the last 10 years.

The report said that concentrations of other greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide have surged in the last decade, according to the Global Atmosphere Watch, which has stations from the Arctic to the Topics.

It said that atmospheric methane levels had reached a record high of 1869 parts per billion last year, 259 percent of the preindustrial level.

Some 40 percent of methane emissions come from natural sources while the remaining 60 percent comes from human activity like farming.

The Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, Inger Anderson, said: “The findings of WMO’s Greenhouse Gas Bulletin and UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report point us in a clear direction – in this critical period, the world must deliver concrete, stepped-up action on emissions.

“We face a stark choice: set in motion the radical transformations we need now, or face the consequences of a planet radically altered by climate change.”

The report comes just a week before the UN Climate Change Conference, which this year will be presided over by Chile but will be held in the Spanish capital Madrid due to unrest in the South American country. EFE-EPA


DILG pledges support to Green Climate Fund projects

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 19, 2019

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has pledged its support to the country’s first Green Climate Fund (GCF) project.

According to the DILG, the GCF aims to establish multi-hazard impact-based forecasting and early warning system (MH-IBF-EWS) in the local government units (LGUs).

DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said this aims to translate hazard forecasts into warnings which will provide the location and specific impacts directly to the LGUs and communities on the ground.

“Climate change has been a global issue that we can’t just take for granted. We must acknowledge it and fortify our country with safety measures like the MH-IBF-EWS. As one of the most vulnerable countries that can fall victim to climate change, we should be proactive in developing counter-measures,” he said.

Año said areas including Tuguegarao City, Legazpi City, the town of Palo in Leyte, and New Bataan in Davao de Oro will be the target local government units (LGUs) of the GCF project.

The said project has been approved by the Green Climate Fund Board during its recent meeting in Songdo, Korea and is worth $10 million.—AAC


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