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The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, commonly known as PAGASA, is the country’s official meteorological and hydrological services provider—which means that the bureau is more than just about the weather. Read on to discover what other things PAGASA busies itself with.

PAGASA studies heavenly bodies. Astronomical events such as the blue moon, falling stars, and lunar and solar eclipses, offer us an extravagant show in the sky. To let us know when we can enjoy these heavenly displays, PAGASA has a pool of astronomers that closely monitor such events. The bureau’s astronomy divisions is located at the PAGASA Science Garden in Quezon City and at the University of the Philippines Diliman Observatory, where the public can observe the stars and planets.

PAGASA is the country’s official timekeeper. The Philippine Standard Time (PhST) is also one of PAGASA’s services. For meteorologists, this allows accurate documentation of the atmosphere at certain time frames, which serve as the initial basis of forecasting weather and floods. For seismologists, PhST helps in determining the epicenter of an earthquake. Under Presidential Decree 1149, PAGASA was declared as the official agency to disseminate PhST.

PAGASA takes part in nation-building. By being immersed in climatological studies, PAGASA helps in creating sustainable projects by providing both public and private sectors information that will enhance the country’s capability to adapt to environmental changes. It also conducts regular Information and Education Campaigns (IEC) in Local Government Units and the academe for disaster preparedness.

PAGASA has specific weather forecasts. Aside from the 24-hour public weather forecasts disseminated to the public, PAGASA also caters to specific clients, such as farmers and fishermen. Its Farm Weather Forecast gives details on what temperatures should be expected in upland and lowland farms, as well as the range of relative humidity and leaf wetness which helps in maintaining the quality of crops. Meanwhile, its Shipping Forecast provides information regarding the maritime safety, providing gale warnings that notify fishermen and other maritime services of sea conditions.

PAGASA is everywhere. The weather bureau has 58 synoptic stations, 23 agromet stations, 10 radar station and 7 upper air stations planted throughout the archipelago. Each of these stations has different instruments used to measure temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind speed, wind direction, humidity and the amount of rainfall over the area. All these daily weather observations are then transmitted to PAGASA’s Weather and Flood Forecasting Center in Quezon City.

With all these responsibilities under its belt, PAGASA strives to continue to live up to its acronym—giving hope to the nation in different ways: helping the public prepare for weather changes, assisting the country’s backbone workforce, and telling us when we can lie on our backs and wish on stars that streak across the night sky.

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How well do you understand Public Storm Warning Signals? Find out what they mean so you can be better prepared for the next tropical cyclone.

When a strong tropical cyclone or “bagyo” enters the PAR (Philippine Area of Responsibility) and heads toward our landmass, PAGASA issues a PSWS or a Public Storm Warning Signal, classified into numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Filipinos often hear of these warnings but many of us still don’t know how these work. Typhoon Glenda, with international name Ramassun, was the latest tropical cyclone that hit Philippine landmass last July. Some areas in Luzon, including MIMAROPA and the Bicol Region were put under signal #3. Some people were wondering, “Signal number 3 na raw pero bakit ang init- init pa rin sa amin?”

(Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online)
(Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online)

PSWS serve as warnings, and should not be taken as an indication of the present situation. Because preparedness is the key to any disaster, PAGASA provides these storm warning signals ahead of time. Take for example, PSWS #3—in this case, the storm is expected to arrive within 18 hours after the PSWS has been raised.

Another misconception about PSWS is that it’s about all about the rain—its intensity and amount. Remember that PAGASA measures tropical cyclones based on the strength of the winds.

Refer to the list below to find out how PSWS are classified according to windspeeds and the time frames they’re expected to arrive:

PSWS #4 : Winds of more than 185 kph is expected in at least 12 hours.

PSWS #3 : Winds of 101-185 kph is expected in at least 18 hours.

PSWS #2 : Winds of 61-100 kph is expected in at least 24 hours.

PSWS #1 : Winds of 30-60 kph is expected in at least 36 hours.

According to PAGASA, tropical cyclones are constantly in motion, thus, PSWS may be updraded or downgraded as they inch closer to specific locations. Storm signals are raised in areas based on the intensity, size of circulation, and the forecasted direction or movement of the tropical storm or typhoon.

UntitledPotential impacts of the winds:

PSWS #1

PSWS #2

PSWS #3

PSWS #4

PSWS describe what is going to happen, not what is already happening. Residents should use this opportunity to prepare for the coming storm and continuously monitor weather updates.

Source: PAGASA

If weather forecasts were people, which one would you be? Is your disposition unapologetically Sunny? Or as dark and brooding as Cloudy with Thunderstorms? Take our fun quiz to find out!

Which Weather Forecast are You?

Weather forecasts come in all sorts of packages, depending on atmospheric factors such as winds, clouds, and rains. We may not like all of them but each plays its role in maintaining the world’s delicate balance. Too much of a good thing, such as sunny days, may bring about droughts; while flood-causing typhoons actually increases our water supply and clears the atmosphere of pollutants.

And because these forecasts are as varied as people, we’ve decided to match some of them with specific personalities. Answer the questions below to discover which weather forecast is similar to your temperament.

1. Finally, it’s the weekend! You’ve been looking forward to this much-needed me time all week. What have you got planned?

a) Organizing an outdoor barbeque for family and friends. It’s time to bask in the sun and mingle, mingle, mingle!

b) Holing up in my room and switching on my soft, contemplative music. It’s the perfect background while I write in my journal.

c) Some solitary time—maybe a back massage and a quick run before having dinner with friends.

d) Bungee jumping in the morning, circuit training in the afternoon, and some serious clubbing late at night.

2. What’s your default hang out?

a. The beach

b. At home

c. In the mall where I can try out a new restaurant

d. In the thick of partying

3. How do you usually make a decision?

a) With positive, happy thoughts.

b) Making a decision is too hard. I’d rather brood about it.

c) I ask my closest friends’ opinions and weigh the good with the bad.

d) I don’t dilly-dally. I take the plunge—consequences be damned.

4. How would your friends describe you?

a. Perky

b. Difficult to read

c. Steady and secure

d. Totally unpredictable

5. It’s movie day. Which flick would you choose?

a. Romantic-Comedy

b. Something dark and deep. Happy endings aren’t important.

c. It depends on my mood. I’m up for any genre.

d. Horror or Suspense—something that would keep me at the edge of my seat.

6. It’s your first time at a group meeting. What do you do?

a. Smile at everyone and introduce myself without being asked.

b. Scurry off to a corner where I can observe, undetected.

c. I size up the situation and act accordingly.

d. I make a grand entrance and ask loudly, “So—when do we eat?”

7. What’s your favorite color?

a. Yellow

b. Gray and Black

c. Blue. But sometimes I like to shake things up and wear bright orange.

d. Neon anything.

Result:

Mostly As: Sunny

You face every situation with relentless optimism. You see life as a stretch of clear skies—a blue canvas you can dot with rainbows and cotton-candy clouds. A word of caution though: not everyone will gravitate toward your all-out vigor; some may be even turned off. If this is an issue with you, try to ease up on the energy with people you’ve just met. If you think they can handle it, then by all means, let your perky personality shine through!

Mostly Bs: Cloudy with Rainshowers and Thunderstorms

You often like to go solo, dealing with problems on your own. Though it’s good to spend some alone time, too much of it can alienate you from the others. Try to reach out once in a while and you’ll be surprised how much you can learn from interacting with others.

Mostly Cs: Sunny/Cloudy with Rainshowers and Thunderstorms

No one’s perfect and that’s okay. You enjoy celebrating your triumphs and learning from your mistakes. For you, life is all about balance and being comfortable in your own skin. It’s not easy to constantly adjust but you’ve learned that it’s the best way to live life to the fullest.

Mostly Ds: Stormy

You like shaking things up and being the center of attention. You’re anxious in squeezing the most out of every day, trying one adrenaline-pumping adventure after the other. A piece of unsolicited advice: try to relax once in a while. Not all great things can be achieved in a hurry. Remember that there is also wisdom and beauty in the quiet things.

If you think you’re unique personality is not mentioned in this quiz, then check out the complete list of weather forecast symbols and terms used by PAGASA. You might find the weather forecast that suits your temperament to a T.

Science is anything but boring. Attention, future college students! Find out how taking a science-related course can land you the coolest and most important jobs in the country.

Six Scientists that Shape the Future

1. Agricultural Biotechnologist

Here are some benefits of organism and gene modification: a greater yield in crops, resistance of plants to disease, and an improved quality of produce—a prime example of which is the Golden Rice Project that allowed rice to be rich in Vitamin A, a nutrient that normally disappears in the crop during its growth process. If you choose this profession, just imagine how much you can contribute to our country’s agricultural sector!

2.    Biochemist

Since a biochemist’s study is broad, dealing with cells and the chemical balance of molecular organisms, this scientist has several job options. From laboratory and research work, to mapping and cataloging tasks, biochemists can find the next best cures in the world of pharmaceuticals, or gather cell samples from plants and animals for invaluable research.

3.  Food Technologist

Some entrepreneurs believe that your best bet for a business is something food-related, for the simple reason that you can never go wrong catering to a basic need. Well, some believe that the same logic applies in landing a job. Food technologists are needed by food companies to make sure that they dish out eats that are safe, legal and of high quality. These scientists can even be involved in formulating food manufacturing processes and recipes by using breakthrough technologies and ingredients.

4.  Environmental Scientist

With the environment very much an issue these days, environmental scientists have become an important tool in national development. Because they study, not only how the environment works, but also the human impact on our surroundings, environmental scientists can provide insight on the causes of, and solutions to, various environmental problems.

5. Forestry Scientist

Our forests are a valuable resource for raw materials, the primary of which is timber. A variety of flora and fauna species make their home here, each attributing to the delicate balance of nature. Forest scientists are therefore crucial in conserving forests that play a crucial role in protecting our watershed, preventing soil erosion and mitigating global warming.

6. Geologist

Geology is a broad study of the earth that includes its materials, chemical processes, and history, among others. The field’s various facets allow geologists to practice their profession in various ways, such as seismology (the study of earthquakes) and volcanology (the study of volcanoes). With our country included in the Pacific Ring of Fire, geologists can be instrumental in understanding some of our natural disasters.

For graduating Filipino high school students who wish to pursue any of these professions, we have this piece of good news: you can avail of scholarships for priority science and technology (S&T) courses by submitting your applications for the 2015 Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute’s (DOST-SEI) Undergraduate Scholarships Examination. Deadline of submission is August 29, 2014 (Friday).

For those who already applied, here’s something to help you ace the scholarship exam:

EINSTEIN2 (2)

Priority S&T courses include agriculture, agricultural biotechnology, biochemistry, computer science, environmental science, fisheries, food technology, forestry, geology, information technology, science/mathematics teaching, statistics, and engineering courses.

The nationwide examination shall be held on September 21, 2014 with results to be announced in March 2015.

Interested parties may download the application form at www.sei.dost.gov.ph or www.science-scholarships.ph. Application forms are also available at the Science Education Institute office at the DOST Compound in Taguig City and in all DOST regional offices, Provincial Science and Technology Centers, and offices of Congressmen and Senators.

Scholarship qualifiers may enroll any of the state universities, colleges, and tertiary institutions identified as Centers of Excellence or Centers of Development by the Commission on Higher Education and in DOST-SEI identified network institutions all over the country. Among these are the University of the Philippines, University of the East, Ateneo de Manila, Ateneo de Davao, De La Salle University, University of Santo Tomas, Mapua Institute of Technology, Don Bosco Technical College, Siliman University, Mariano Marcos State University, and St. Louis University.

For more information, visit www.sei.dost.gov.ph or www.science-scholarships.ph or call (02)839-0083, (02) 837-1333, 837-2071 loc. 2382.

(S&T Media Service)

Sources:

http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/genetic/agricultural-biotechnology1.htm

http://www.wisegeek.org/what-does-a-biochemist-do.htm

http://www.prospects.ac.uk/food_technologist_job_description.htm

http://www.hartwick.edu/academics/majors-and-minors/special-minors/environmental-science-and-policy-minor/what-is-environmental-science

http://www.rfs.org.uk/learning/what-forestry

http://www.utoledo.edu/nsm/envsciences/careers/geology.html

Courtesy: Albay Governor Joey Salceda.
Courtesy: Albay Governor Joey Salceda.

Mayon Volcano in the province of Albay is famous for having a “perfect cone” shape, its beauty prodding the government to declare it a natural park and a protected landscape in 1938.

But nowadays, this natural wonder is temporarily closed from the public, prohibiting tourist activities such as mountain climbing and ATV driving within its 6-kilometer Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) because of its possible eruption. Entering the PDZ puts people at risk, not only for its sudden explosion, but also for rock fall and landslides.

What makes the situation different from past abnormalities is the presence of a 30 to 40-meter lava dome on what PHILVOLCS calls our country’s most active volcano, a swelling on the 200-meter crater that releases smoke. If the lava dome increases its size, blocks the crater and is followed by a consistent, intense degassing, a full blast explosion will occur.

ARTICLE PIC 2

PHIVOLCS has kept the warning on Alert Level 2 as Mayon continues to emit volcanic gas. Its anticipated “big bang” is predicted to be magmatic, affecting over 28,000 families in 66 barangays. But the voluminous pyroclastic flows composed of hot rocks and gas are not the sole threat; volcanic ash fall is also a risk that comes without precursors. Ash fall comprises of pulverized minerals and rocks, which may inflict discomfort to the eyes, skin and respiratory system. Also, its large volume can cause roofs to collapse.

It has been four years since the volcano’s last eruption, which typically happens within an interval of four to twelve years. Although there were just three to six-year intervals in Mayon’s recent eruptions, its potential major outburst can be observed at least three months in advance, with the help of PHIVOLCS’ instruments and observation of the volcano’s physical appearance.

Over 30,000 individuals may need to evacuate from the slopes of the volcano in the next few days. Albay Governor Joey Salceda has also issued a health advisory last August 19 (Tuesday), including the identification of evacuation centers per local government unit, deployment of a rapid assessment and survey team, water facilities, toilet facilities, a disposal system and medical stations, among others.

DISTINCT VOLCANIC EVENTS

The Mayon volcano has a lengthy history of activity. Here are some of its noteworthy eruptions:

 February 1, 1814

Considered as the most destructive eruption of Mayon with 1,200 deaths to lahar that buried homes in Cagsawa, Malinao and Mounts Marasaga and Catburauan. This also led to the submerging of Cagsawa Church, now Cagsawa Ruins.

June 4 – July 23, 1897

350 people died during its 17-hour violent phase, mostly due to pyroclastic flows. 

December 14, 2009

 Alert level 3 was raised after 83 volcanic quakes transpired in just one day leading residents to an almost 2-month stay in evacuation sites. There were no casualties in spite of the lava flows and increased sulfur dioxide emissions.

May 7, 2013

Five climbers died due to a sudden spewing of ash and rocks from the volcano.

For more facts about the Mayon Volcano, check out the photo below:

 

George Vincent Gamayo is a senior segment producer of Panahon TV aired daily at 5:00 AM on the People’s Television (PTV). He is also the writer and director of PROJECT DINA or Disaster Information for Nationwide Awareness, a flagship project of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and Office of Civil Defense which serves as a public exposition and access of disaster risk reduction and management information materials.

For up-to-the-minute weather updates, follow Panahon TV on Facebook and Twitter.

“Bagyong KANOR, papasok ng Philippine Area of Responsibility” Find out why this typhoon name was changed by PAGASA.

Recently, PAGASA renamed bagyong “KANOR” to KARDING,” something that sparked amused discussion in social media. Netizens poked fun at the possibility of naming a tropical cycone “Kanor,” even going as far as creating graphics to prove their point.

kanor

The weather bureau decided to drop the name “KANOR” because this name is linked to a “Mang Kanor,” who became notorious with his sex video scandal.

One of the rules in naming a tropical cyclone is that it must not have an offensive or negative meaning. PAGASA also wants the public to focus their attention on preparedness and not on the name of the storm.

Another notorious figure, Janet Lim Napoles, who was pinpointed as the main player in the recent Pork Barrel scam, also became a trending topic in social media when netizens suggested naming a tropical cyclone after her.

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At the peak of the pork barrel issue with Janet Lim Napoles, netizens have suggested naming a tropical cyclone or “bagyo” after the controversial figure, said to have shaken up Philippine politics in typhoon-like proportions.

But such a suggestion is implausible, especially since the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration or PAGASA has already finalized its list of names for tropical cyclones for the next two decades.

Once a tropical cyclone enters PAR (Philippine Area of Responsibility), a local name is immediately assigned to it to make it easier for Filipinos to remember.

In the past, only women’s names ending with ng or ing, such as Auring and Yayang were used in naming these tropical cyclones—something that some people deemed gender-biased.

This resulted to the Name a Bagyo Contest conducted nationwide with the theme Binyagan ang bagyo at manalo ng libu-libong piso! in 1999. Based on the press release of the contest, winners would receive P1,000 per typhoon name selected and a consolation prize of P500 per typhoon name for the 70 chosen auxiliary or reserved names.

The rules of criteria for the name suggestions were the following:

–       Names must not begin with letters Ñ, NG and X (may or may not end in NG)

–       Should not have more than Nine (9) letters per name

–       Should not more than Three (3) syllables per name

–       Must not have any negative or offensive meaning

–       Easy to pronounce

–       Entries must be arranged in alphabetical order according to the new Filipino alphabet

–       Names may be that of a person (male of female), place, animal, flower, plant, tree, or a trait that reflected Filipino tradition and culture

The contest gave birth to a new list of Philippine tropical cyclone names, which are being used until now. What we have in the present year are listed under column number 2. These names are repeated every four years.

New Bagyo

According to PAGASA, an average of 19 to 20 tropical cyclones enters PAR annually, but there are also instances when the number exceeds the alphabetical list. This is where the auxiliary list comes in.

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 1.10.34 PM

Did you know?

Names of tropical cyclones that caused enormous damage with more than 300 casualties and at least P1 billion pesos worth of destroyed properties are decommissioned. Some of the names that made a great impact and were removed from the list are “Ondoy”, Pablo” and “Yolanda”.

Source: PAGASA-DOST

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration or PAGASA, one of the agencies under the Department of Science and Technology, is one of the top 5 best performing government agencies and offices in the country, according to a survey by the Makati Business Club (MBC).

This was announced in a press statement issued by the MBC last August 11, 2014.

MBC’s Second Semester Executive Outlook Survey, conducted from July 1-25, 2014, rated the performance of 62 government agencies and offices for the period July 2013-July 2014. Out of these 62 agencies, 43 garnered positive net satisfaction ratings from MBC members composed of senior business executives from the Philippines’ largest corporations.

PAGASA joins this list of top performers for the first time, posting a score of 72.3 to claim the fourth spot overall.  Of those surveyed, 84.6 percent said they were satisfied with the weather bureau’s performance while 12.3 percent claimed they were not satisfied.

MBC cited the country’s official weather bureau in particular, for its improvement in disseminating accurate weather forecasts to the public.Through its partnership with Panahon TV,  produced by Ube Media, Inc. and aired on the People’s Television, PAGASA is able to deliver daily forecasts on television, making weather information more readily available.

Daily weather forecasts are also released daily through Panahon TV’s social networks on Facebook and Twitter, currently being followed not only by individuals, but also by other government agencies.

Recently, Panahon TV has beefed up content on its official website (www.panahon.tv) with daily feature articles and infographics that touch on weather-related topics such as disaster preparedness, the environment, and personal safety.

The circle of 5 best-performing government agencies also includes the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas which is the frontrunner in the list, Department of Tourism which ranks second, Philippine Economic Zone Authority which ranks third, and the Securities and Exchange Commission on fifth spot.

Rounding up the top 10 list are the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Health, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Department of Finance, and the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Founded in 1981, MBC is committed in the promotion of the business sector’s role in national development and in addressing social and economic issues affecting the Philippines.  (With report from S&T Media Service) 

 

The El Niño phenomenon indicates the unusual warming of the ocean in the Central and Eastern Equatorial Pacific, which happens every two to seven years, typically in the final quarter of the year. And although this happens in the ocean, its effect is massive, taking its toll on economies at local and global scales.

Last May 2014, PAGASA warned the public about a potentially weak El Niño arriving anytime from the last quarter of this year to January 2015, bringing droughts and weak monsoon activity. However, at this time, storms will still prevail.

So the answer to the pop quiz? A resounding TRUE.

The Philippines is situated in the Western North Pacific where an average of twenty cyclones cross our area of responsibility every year. Climatological observations of PAGASA show that some of these typhoons have happened during El Niño.

A List of Devastating Cyclones during the El Niño Phenomenon in Recent Years

These local names, except for Yoyong, were already decommissioned from the list of cyclones to prevent psychological relapse to the victims of these killer typhoons. Ondoy is just an example of a disastrous storm in the presence of a strong El Niño phenomenon.

The El Niño is a natural climate variability. During its development, the western section of the country may experience wet conditions due to the Southwest Monsoon, which is followed by a dry period. Currently, the association between global warming and the increased frequency of El Niño trends is still not conclusive.

The World Meteorological Organization states that this year, there is an approximately 60% chance of experiencing a short-lived El Niño, which may bring greater droughts in the western section of Mindanao and in areas habitually away from the ocean such as the climate type III zones. Climate type III is relatively dry from December to February or from March to May.

Climate Map
Climate Map Based on Rainfall

Climate type III is mostly enclosed by land. Hence, these regions rely on rains for water supply.

After the recent passing of Typhoon Jose, the country can still expect 2 to 3 cyclones in August, and 3 to 4 in September, which is forecasted to be one of the wettest months of the year. In spite of the recent cooling of the sea surface temperature, the probability of El Niño may still increase up to 75% in the last quarter of 2014. But, if the phenomenon does not transpire after December, there will be a slimmer possibility of an El Niño episode in the coming months.

Average Number of Cyclones that will enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility
Average Number of Cyclones that will enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility

According to PAGASA, tracks of cyclones are forecasted to move northward due to the “weak to moderate” development of El Niño.

George Vincent Gamayo is a senior segment producer of Panahon TV aired daily at 5:00 AM on the People’s Television (PTV). He is also the writer and director of PROJECT DINA or Disaster Information for Nationwide Awareness, a flagship project of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and Office of Civil Defense which serves as a public exposition and access of disaster risk reduction and management information materials.

For up-to-the-minute weather updates, follow Panahon TV on Facebook and Twitter.