Aside from being only two months away from the Christmas season, October also heralds a few weather changes that will have you reaching for the blanket early in the morning. Read on and find out what you can expect on the tenth month of the year.
1. Colder mornings ahead
After the Autumnal Equinox last September 23, longer nights will continue this October. This month will also be the transition period for wind systems as the wind pattern changes from southwest to northeast. The northeast monsoon or amihan starts to affect the country usually by mid to late October. It is cold and dry in nature, resulting to a temperature drop and a slight chill mostly in the early morning.
2. Rains over the eastern section
Who could forget the southwest monsoon or habagat, which brought enormous amounts of rain in the past few months? Because of this, the western section of Luzon, including Metro Manila, experienced widespread flooding and gusty winds that caused damage to properties. This October, however, residents of the country’s eastern section, which include Cagayan Valley, Aurora and Quezon Province, is more likely to be affected by rains brought by amihan.
3. Possible landfall of tropical cyclones
According to PAGASA, about two to three tropical cyclones or bagyo may enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility during the month of October. Tropical cyclones usually move northwest, which means a higher chance of hitting the landmass, making Northern and Central Luzon areas prone to possible landfall activities. The direction or track of the tropical cyclones depends on the surge of the Northeast Monsoon or amihan.
However, changes may still occur as PAGASA continues to monitor the probability of a “weak El Niño” in the last quarter of 2014.
But first, let’s brush up on the basics:
Five Important Facts about the Ozone Layer
1. Ozone is good poison. Let’s be clear on this—ozone may be fatal when inhaled. But it’s good for us when it’s up there in stratosphere, a 50-kilometer wide region that’s around 16 kilometers from the earth’s surface. This is where we find the ozone layer that protects us from those nasty ultraviolet rays.
2. Ozone can also be bad. The bad news is ozone can also be found in the troposphere, the atmospheric layer that’s nearest to the earth. This ozone is formed from pollutants and is damaging to all life on earth.
3. We need the ozone layer. It may be thin and fragile, but the nothing beats the ozone layer in screening out the sun’s lethal UV-C radiation, and filtering 90% of its harmful UV-B rays, which lowers our immune system and makes us age faster. UV-B also inhibits agricultural growth, affecting our food supply.
4. The ozone hole is not literally a hole. The ozone hole refers to the thinning of the ozone layer, first observed over the Antarctic area in the early 1980s. Today, the size of ozone depletion is a little over 11 million square miles, a bit larger than the continent of North America.
5. Ozone depletion is manmade. Some examples of ODS (ozone depleting substances) are the chemical Halon, used in fire extinguishers and the pesticide, Methyl Bromide. But the biggest culprits of all are the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which, among others, are used as cooling agents in refrigerators and air-conditioners, and propellants in aerosols. In fact, CFCs make up almost 90% of ODS in the country! But here’s a bit of good news: once ODS are phased out, the ozone layer will slowly repair itself.
Saving the Ozone Layer
Because of the alarming rate of ozone depletion, more than 180 countries drew up an agreement known as the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer on September 16, 1987. This protocol intended to reduce the abundance of harmful substances in the atmosphere by phasing out ODS.
According to United Nations Undersecretary-General and United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner, “There are positive indications that the ozone layers is on track to recovery towards the middle of the century.” Reports showed that without the Montreal Protocol, atmospheric levels of ODS could have increased tenfold by 2050. Because of the positive development, 2 million cases of skin cancer would be prevented by 2030.
The protocol’s latest assessment also provides solid scientific proof to policy-makers of the complicated relationship between the ozone and the climate, and the need for supportive measures in order to protect life.
With the continued success of the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer is on full recovery, with the likelihood of its 1980 benchmark, a time before the ozone layer’s significant depletion.
However, the crusade is far from over. While, greenhouse gasses emissions have decreased by more than 90%, other gases such as Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Nitrous Oxide and Methane will still affect the ozone layer in the second half of 21st century. These three long-lived greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere will play a vital role in future ozone depletion.
On November 2014, key findings of the report will be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Paris. The full report will be released in early 2015.
The Philippine Ozone Desk http://www.emb.gov.ph/philozone/philozone.htm
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Jesy Basco is an advocate of responsible media and a weather reporter at Panahon TV, aired daily at 5:00 AM on the People’s Television (PTV). Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
We, Filipinos are known, not only for our hospitality, but also for having the longest Christmas celebration in the world. As early as the first day of September, which marks the beginning of the “Ber Months,” Christmas carols can be heard in establishments, reminding everyone that the yuletide season is just a few months away.
One of the exciting events during “ber months” is the Autumnal Equinox. According to PAGASA, it will happen on September 23, Tuesday, at 10:29 am in Philippine Standard Time.
During the equinox, there will be equal lengths of day and night, meaning there will be 12 hours of daytime and 12 hours of night time. Instead of a tilt away from or towards the sun, the earth’s axis of rotation is perpendicular to the sun rays. After this, Philippine nights will be longer as the Sun moves below the celestial equator towards the southern hemisphere. Longer nights also mean shorter exposure to sunlight. That’s why a slight temperature drop can be expected.
Meanwhile, December 21 will have the shortest day and the longest night of the year, marking the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere. Although the Philippines does not have winter, we experience cooler temperatures at this time because we are located in the northern half of the Earth.
The onset of the Northeast Monsoon or “Amihan,” which brings cold and dry air, is also a major factor of cold weather. According to PAGASA Weather Forecaster Fernando Cada, this usually occurs during late October. The onset of Amihan could mean a slight chill during early mornings, mostly in parts of Luzon.
The peak of Amihan is in January, and most likely to last until February. January is one of the coldest months of the year. Northern, elevated provinces like Benguet usually experience the lowest temperatures, allowing the formation of frost in their vegetable farms.
Last year, PAGASA declared the onset of Amihan on October 17, 2013. The weather bureau observed the development of high pressure areas over mainland China, which shifted the wind direction, bringing cold and dry air over the Extreme Northern Luzon.
Currently, PAGASA continues to monitor the probability of a “weak El Niño” in the last quarter of 2014. This phenomenon, which is characterized by unusually warm ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific, might affect the weather patterns in the country. While temperatures may be higher than normal, breezes may not be as cold as expected. Rainfall below the normal level may also be experienced in the coming months.
Yesterday evening, Metro Manila experienced continuous rains that caused flooding in different areas.
PAGASA Weather Forecaster Aldczar Aurelio explained that these are brought about by the southwest monsoon or “habagat,” typically experienced in July, August and September. Its warm and moist characteristics are sometimes enhanced by weather disturbances like the tropical cyclone.
According PAGASA weather forecaster Gener Quitlong, heavy rains over Metro Manila is due to the combined effect of the “habagat” and Tropical Storm Mario.
As of September 18, 2014, here is the rainfall data:
Ondoy vs. Habagat
Compared to the rains brought by Ondoy to Manila in 2009, which was recorded at 455 millimeters at the Quezon City Science Garden within a 24-hour period, the recent habagat has brought 268 millimeters of rain within the same time frame.
This is because the rains we are experiencing now are not a direct effect of Tropical Storm Mario, unlike before when we were hit directly by Typhoon Ondoy.
Just before you step out to jumpstart your whole-day outdoor adventure with friends, the skies suddenly release sheets of rain. Before you scream at the unfairness of it all, take heart! You can still have fun even with gloomy weather.
Nowadays, escapades are not confined only to the great outdoors. Don’t let the rain ruin your weekend by heading indoors! Here are some rain-friendly activities you can enjoy with friends and family.
Christmas is less than a hundred days away! Now is the time to head on to bazaars, mall sales and your favorite discount stores to score the best deals for yuletide gifts. Don’t wait until the last minute to do your Christmas shopping. When you’re in the thick of the holiday rush, you’re more likely to also rush your shopping. This means less time to mull over your choices (which may now be limited because of the competition) and you may end up spending more than you planned.
Feed your mind.
Let your brain munch on some food for thought for a change. Have a field day at the museums that pepper the metro. Brush up on local culture and history at The National Museum. Get your dose of modern art at the Vargas Museum. Take a peek at business magnate Eugenio Lopez’s private art collection at the Lopez Museum. Planning to bring along kids? Then we suggest visiting family-oriented interactive museums such as the multi-faceted Museo Pambata, and the science-themed Mind Museum and the Exploreum. Fun learning can also be had at the Manila Ocean Park, where both children and the child-at-heart can get up close and personal with our fascinating aquatic neighbors. Before going to these establishments, do check out their operating hours on their websites so you’re sure they’re open.
Indulge in some movie magic.
Going to the movies is a no-brainer when it’s raining. But why not up the ante and skip the Hollywood-themed flicks to check out films off the beaten track? September is a great month for movie buffs since they can check out Cine Europa, which features 23 films from Austria, Belguim, Netherlands and other European countries. Meanwhile, locally produced documentaries claim the spotlight in Cine Totoo, produced by independent filmmakers from all over the country.
Eat, drink, and stay dry.
There is never a shortage of eateries in the metro. Drag your friends and hole yourselves in a cozy café or restaurant and chat the rainy blues away. You can even turn it into a food trip, hopping from one nearby gastronomic establishment to the next to sample their signature specialties.
Home is where the action is.
When the winds are howling, typhoon-style and the rains show no sign of backing down, think of your safety first and stay home. Bust out those board games, attack the clutter in your cabinet, or bake some goodies. It’s up to you to make the most out of your day, regardless of the weather.
This rainy season, eat your way to better health! Learn how you can boost your immune system in five delicious ways.
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattmendoza/4069052407
The rainy season, also known as the cough-and-colds season, is a challenge for people of all ages, health-wise. Though there are no conclusive studies that prove that the weather itself lowers our resistance to viruses and bacteria, some scientists believe that the cold weather encourages people to stay indoors. In this close proximity with other human beings, sicknesses become easily transmittable.
To protect yourselves, you need to have a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating, not only food that’s fresh and safe, but also the right kinds of food. Here are five foods to help you fight those nasty diseases.
1. Chicken Soup
It’s not only good for the soul, but also for your health. Aside from the obvious fact that a bowl of hot soup can warm you up, chicken, while being cooked, releases a type of amino acid that chemically resembles a bronchitis drug called acetylcysteine. If you’re craving a heavier version, whip up a pot of arroz caldo that doesn’t only give you your fill of carbs, but also ginger, believed to break down toxins in the lungs and sinuses to help you breathe easier, and onions and garlic—both natural antiseptics and immunity boosters.
2. Vitamin C-Rich Munchies
Vitamin C, which reduces cold symptoms by 23%, can be found in abundance in local citrus fruits such as calamansi and dalandan. You’d be surprised that other foods such as red bell pepper, papaya, tomatoes and broccoli also have high amounts of this antioxidant!
3. Fish and Shellfish
We’re lucky to be surrounded by the ocean so we have our bounty of seafood. Shellfish such as clams, oysters and crabs aids white blood cells in producing a kind of protein that help rid the body of flu viruses. (Just watch out for red tide season!) Meanwhile, omega-3 fats reduce inflammation, protecting lungs from respiratory infections. For your omega-3 fix, stock up on tuna, tanigue, tulingan, tawilis and dilis.
Probiotics are the good bacteria that make sure that your intestinal tract remains healthy and free from disease-causing germs. You can get these from yogurt and other food products. Just check the labels to see if they contain probiotics, particularly the bacteria called Lactobacillus reuteri, which block the multiplication of viruses that attack the body.
People aren’t kidding when they say that water is life. Water is a cure-all for all sorts of sicknesses. It keeps your body hydrated, giving you the boost to fight those viruses. It also gives you an internal cleansing, washing away the toxins, released through waste products. Drink as much water as you can everyday—go beyond the required eight glasses!
There you have it—5 super foods to help you get through the rainy season. But before you dig in, remember to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. This prevents another disease common during the rains—the dreaded diarrhea!
It sounds like the apocalypse, but it’s true: a killer earthquake may or may not come in this lifetime, causing thousands of deaths and massive destruction in Manila. Find out what will happen when “The Big One” arrives.
Fault Finding: The Huge Earthquake that’s Waiting to Happen
The Philippines is positioned within the Pacific Ring of Fire, where high seismic activities such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur. Apart from the active faults traversing the country, there are 23 active volcanoes that can also generate earthquakes.
On October 15, 2013, a 7.2 magnitude quake jolted Central Visayas, resulting into 222 deaths and destroying over 73,000 houses in less than a minute. With the seismic activity equal to the explosion of thirty-two Hiroshima atomic bombs, the provinces of Bohol and Cebu declared a state of calamity.
Greater Metro Manila Area (GMMA) is not exempt from earthquakes due to the very ripe West Valley Fault. Its 90 to 100-kilometer length crosses Rizal, Marikina, Quezon City, Pasig, Makati, Taguig, Muntinlupa and Laguna. Moreover, 35% of the population inhabiting the said areas lives right above this fault line.
The last recorded movement of the West Valley Fault was more than three centuries ago, in 1658. According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), a fault line usually moves sometime between two hundred to four hundred years. The movement of the fault is predicted to have a horizontal friction in between plates or what geologists call an “essentially strike slip.” The anticipated killer quake has been dubbed as “The Big One,” which can produce a magnitude 7.2, putting the capital’s population of over eleven million people at risk.
If the epicenter of the major quake hits Metro Manila with an intensity of 8 or 9, three million people would need to be evacuated; an additional 18,300 may perish due to fires in 97,800 buildings throughout the metropolis; 7 bridges would collapse, and secondary hazards such as liquefaction and landslide would also pose risks.
According to the United Nations, our country may lose as much as 19 percent of its urban-produced capital in such an earthquake, suffering economic losses of more than 9 billion US dollars. While, NDRRMC projects 2.3 to 2.4 trillion pesos or 10% loss in our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
As always, the key to surviving calamities is knowledge and preparedness. Here’s how you can protect yourself before, during, and after earthquakes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gy8-dBTP3-Q
Have you ever experienced going out of your house to soak in the sun, only to be drenched by sudden rains hours later? According to PAGASA, rain showers or thunderstorms usually occur in the afternoon or evening because of the heat accumulated from morning until the latter part of the day.
This scenario is not so strange; in fact it can be explained by one of the most basic weather processes called water cycle.
When the sun heats the earth’s surface, the water from the ocean or a body of water evaporates and rises up to the atmosphere. Water vapor forms into clouds and undergoes condensation.
When a cloud becomes massive, it can no longer sustain the moisture so it releases water through precipitation in the forms of rain, snow, or hail.
The transformation of a cloud from white to a dark grayish color is brought by the lack of passing light from the sun. The cloud becomes thicker, making it hard for sunlight to penetrate.
During a thunderstorm, lightning and thunder also occur, along with gusty winds and moderate to heavy rains. Lightning is caused by the electric charges within the cloud and the ground. The charges at the top of the cloud are positive while negative charges form at the bottom. When these opposite charges connect, they produce a streak of light called lightning.
Meanwhile, thunder is caused by the vibration of air particles due to lightning. Since light travels faster than sound, thunder usually comes after lightning.
The Life Cycle of a Thunderstorm
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), all thunderstorms originate from a thunderstorm cell which has a distinct life cycle lasting for about 30 minutes.
Towering Cumulus Stage
According to PAGASA, there are main ingredients to form a cumulonimbus cloud – moisture, lifting and unstable atmosphere. When the sun heats the ground, the warm air moves upward, condenses and begins to build clouds. The clouds will then grow vertically and densely.
Mature Cumulus Stage
The cloud continues to increase in size, width and height. In this stage, the affected areas start to experience heavy precipitation and gusty winds. NOAA considers this as the most dangerous stage wherein large hail, damaging winds, and flash flooding may occur.
Also called as the “decaying stage”, the cloud begins to collapse because it no longer has a supply of warm moist air to maintain itself and then it dissipates. The weather gradually calms down to light rains and weak wind flow. The top of the thunderstorm cloud usually flattens, spreads out or becomes less defined. Precipitation becomes light and clouds may also begin to evaporate.
Hazards of Thunderstorms
Flooding & Landslide
When a thunderstorm occurs, it dumps moderate to heavy rains in affected areas. These rains may continue withinthe 1 to 2-hour life span of a thunderstorm, which may result to floods or landslides, mostly in low-lying or mountainous areas.
Thunder & Lightning
The roar of thunder will always be present during the process of a thunderstorm. The noise may be frightening for some, but it is not as dangerous as lightning. Lightning is hazardous because it can strike people or animals, which may lead to death.
This year, casualties from lightning were reported in different parts of the country:
• May 18, 2016 – a farmer and his three cows died in San Agustin, Isabela.
• May 16, 2016 – a farmer and his two cows died after being struck by lightning in Brgy. Aguitap, Solsona, Ilocos Norte.
• May 13, 2016 – In a report of bomboradyo.com, a forester of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) died on the spot due to lightning in Rizal, Cagayan. Four other companions survived and were immediately brought to the hospital.
Although some people may survive a lightning strike, this may also have long-term effects. Though lightning doesn’t cause substantial burns, it has a high possibility of affecting the nervous system, including the brain, as well as the autonomic and peripheral nervous systems.
Once it hits the brain, a person may have difficulties with his memory, coding new information, and accessing old information. The victim may also suffer from problems with multi-tasking, distractibility, irritability and personality change.
Survivors may complain of headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and sleeping disorders. Fatigue has also beenobserved, wherein a person becomes exhausted after working only within a few hours.
Lightning can also generate wildfire, which is very common in the United States. This occurs when there is abundant moisture in the air, but not enough on the surface. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), every lightning strike has the potential to start a fire.
NOAA defines a tornado as a narrow, violently rotating column of air that extends from the base of a thunderstorm to the ground. Since winds are not visible, one can hardly see a tornado unless it is made up of water droplets, dust and debris. NOAA added that tornadoes are considered as the most violent of all atmospheric storms.
In the Philippines, it is locally known as “buhawi”. Here are few incidents recorded in the country:
• May 3, 2016 – three people were injured after a tornado swept Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental. The tornado also damaged 90 houses, two classrooms and a chapel.
• August 13, 2015 – More than 150 houses were wrecked, while seven people were hurt by a massive tornado in Pikit, North Cotabato.
• May 6, 2015 – Around 50 houses were destroyed in a village in San Pedro, Laguna. The tornado only lasted for approximately 10 minutes but it blew off the roofs of the houses and uprooted some trees.
According to PAGASA, tornadoes in the Philippines are smaller and have shorter life spans compared to the onesthat occur in other countries. However, a tornado,regardless of its size, can still be destructive.
Do’s and Don’ts during a Thunderstorm
In an interview with Panahon TV, PAGASA Weather Forecaster Jori Loiz explained the important things toremember when a thunderstorm hits. WATCH: Panahon TV May 18, 2016 (Part 3)
The Thunderstorm Squat
• Crouch low. Do not make yourself the tallest object within the vicinity. Keep your feet close together with both heels touching. In case lightning strikes you, this position will minimize the voltage difference between your feet.
• Make sure that only a minimal part of your body touches the ground as you squat low. If lightning strikes, the current will most likely travel through your legs, keeping your vital organs like your heart safe.
• Cover your ears. Place your hands over your ears. This way, all your extremities are in contact, letting the current just pass through your body.
Know more about the basics of thunderstorm squat.
How do we know if there’s an incoming thunderstorm?
The state weather bureau regularly issues thunderstorm warning levels:
This aims to make us aware that there is a slim chance of thunderstorm and that good weather will possibly prevail. However, since the weather keeps on changing, all are still advised to monitor updates.
Watch out! This one already urges the public to prepare as thunderstorm is more likely to occur or affect the area within the next 12 hours. Within the said span of time, it’s best to continuously monitor updates and take precautionary actions.
Thunderstorm starts to affect a specific place. This is also used to alert nearby areas that a possible thunderstorm may affect them within the next 2 hours.
Keep in mind…
A sunny morning does not always mean it’s going to be sunny all day long. Heat is one of the major factors of water cycle. Whenever clouds are present, there will also be chances of rain.
We have to remember that chances of rain showers or thunderstorms are part of our everyday lives. What we have to do is to be prepared at all times by gearing up with umbrellas and staying updated on weather conditions.
We monitor the weather not only to plan our activities, but also to protect our health. Along with the rains comes a downpour of diseases, ranging from easily curable to downright deadly. Here are some of the rainy season-related illnesses and the smart ways to avoid them.
1. Dengue fever
An acute viral infection acquired from the bite of a female Aedes aegypti mosquito at daytime. Aside from four dengue viruses, this mosquito also transmits chikungunya and yellow fever. Anyone can get dengue, but this fatal disease usually affects infants and children in tropical and subtropical countries. Symptoms include the sudden onset of high fever that may last from two to seven days, joint and muscle pains, skin rashes, nose bleeding, abdominal pain, and vomiting.
A bacterial infection from rodents and other vermin. This is commonly transmitted through rodent bites, ingestion of contaminated food and exposure to flood with urine or feces of infected animals. Apart from open wounds, the bacteria also enter the system through the eyes, nose and mouth. Fever, muscle pain, headache and reddish eyes are some of its symptoms.
A serious intestinal infection transmitted by consuming food or drinking water filled with Vibrio cholerae, a bacterium usually found in human waste. This causes watery diarrhea and vomiting, leading to severe dehydration.
Also known as flu, it’s a viral infection affecting those with weak immune systems. This affects the respiratory system and triggers chills, fever, sore throat, runny nose, coughs and fatigue.
5. Hepatitis A
An ancient disease in the liver known to be very infectious. This can be transmitted through food and water contaminated with feces and urine from an infected patient. Abdominal discomfort, tiredness, dark urine and fever are signs, among others, but symptoms in children tend to be so mild that they may go unnoticed.
An acute illness caused by Salmonellae typhi bacteria from the fecal waste of a carrier. Infected people suffer from poor appetite, headaches, diarrhea and lethargy. This disease has been a public health issue in developing countries.
7. Cold and Cough
A viral infection that makes nose and throat inflamed and vulnerable to bacteria. If these become severe, they might lead to serious infections such as sinusitis, ear infections and bronchitis.
A contagious skin infection causing severe itching and allergic reactions after a tiny parasite called mite Sarcoptes scabiei has bitten into the skin. It is transmittable through direct skin contact.
9. Athlete’s Foot
A fungal and transmittable infection marked by a flaky, red rash that cracks and causes sores in the feet. Sweaty shoes are the breeding ground of this infection, but it can also be acquired through contaminated swimming pools and floodwater.
TIPS TO PREVENT THESE DISEASES
Maintain cleanliness. Proper and frequent hand washing is a must, especially before eating your meals and after using the toilet. It is also important to observe proper disposal of garbage and maintain the cleanliness of comfort rooms.
Always bring an umbrella. An umbrella protects you from the weather, rain or shine.
Use mosquito repellants. Aside from applying repellant, you can also wear long sleeves, pants and socks before going out of the house and before sleeping.
Dress according to the weather. Use a jacket if the weather is cold and rainy to avoid common colds and flu.
Dispose of stagnant water. Remove stored rainwater in old tires, cans, water containers, jars, bottles and other items that collect water. Replace the water in flower vases once a week, and cover water drums and pails to prevent mosquitos from breeding.
Get a flu vaccine. Guard yourselves and be protected from different illnesses preventable by vaccination.
Eat healthy. Having a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about doing regular exercise; it also means eating nutritious food. During rainy days, it’s important to boil drinking water and eat foods that are properly prepared. Cover food containers and store them in the refrigerator to prevent spoilage.
Avoid crowded places. If going out is necessary, wear a facemask or cover your nose and mouth with a handkerchief in crowded places to avoid getting viruses.
Do not cross or swim in floodwater. Avoid making contact with flooded areas especially when you have an open wound. If it’s necessary to cross floodwaters, wear boots and thoroughly clean your body afterwards.
Consult a doctor. It is important to bring the patient to the nearest hospital or health center to consult his or her symptoms.