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PAGASA to install more radars this year

By Catherine J. Teves

MANILA, March. 23 – Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) aims further improving own monitoring activities by expanding this year its network of doppler radars in the country to better generate weather information that can help protect life, limb and property, particularly amidst climate change.

"For 2012, we'll install four of such radars," PAGASA Administrator Dr. Nathaniel Servando said on Friday when the agency hosted in Metro Manila a weather-related forum with the private sector.

The forum was among activities PAGASA lined up for this year's celebration of the 62nd World Meteorological Day and 147th National Meteorological Day.

Servando said PAGASA will install the radars in Iloilo province, Busuanga municipality in Palawan province, Zamboanga Peninsula and Southern Palawan.

Such areas are along the Philippines' western seaboard.

Having the radars there would help PAGASA better monitor storms and typhoons from West Philippine Sea as well as onslaught of the southwest monsoon, Servando said.

"With such radars there, we'll have balanced monitoring coverage nationwide," he said.

He reported PAGASA already monitors the country's eastern seaboard well, having previously installed for the purpose various equipment there.

For each of the radars to be installed this year, Servando said PAGASA budgeted some P80 million for the required equipment and building.

"Funds for the radars are from our regular budget," he said.

PAGASA reported installing last year five doppler radars in various locations to help beef up its nationwide monitoring activities.

"We target having a total of 13 doppler radars by 2013 or 2014," Servando said.

National Agriculture and Fishery Council member Antonio Rola urged PAGASA to continue issuing weather advisories at least six months in advance so the crop sub-sector can plan its planting activities accordingly.

"Most agricultural crops bear fruit after four months so if we receive such advisories only shortly before a climatic event occurs, it might be too late for our farmers," he said during the forum.

He said advanced and correct information about projected climatic events was essential so the sub-sector could avoid having to shoulder costly remedial measures for saving its produce.

"People concerned must learn to use the advanced weather change information to their advantage," he said.

Given such information, he said, farmers could plant water-loving crops during periods that were expected to have more rainy months.

Crops preferring dry climate could be planted during months that were projected to witness dry episodes, he said.

"We must adapt what we plant," he said.

Weather monitoring is among government's disaster preparedness strategies.

Earlier this month, CommissionerNaderev Saño of the Climate Change Commission promoted government's disaster preparedness advocacy as he reported that studies indicated increasingly violent weather disturbances could be expected from climate change's onslaught.

"Climate change is here already – it's now the most dominant issue of our time," he said during the climate forum hosted by Quezon City government.

He said that data previously identified the 1990s as the warmest decade and 1998 as the warmest year during that period.

Data later show 2010 then 2011 as the hottest year, he said.

Noting onslaught of climate change, he believed it was likely that every year thereafter "will be the hottest year on record."

"What we're seeing is a warming world," he said.

Experts earlier cited sea level rise as among consequences of the earth's warming.

They said such warming is melting Earth's polar ice, leading to sea level rise. (PNA) RMA/CJT/utb

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