This year, severe weather events impacted several regions around the
world—proof of the ever-growing threat of Climate Change. Fittingly enough, it was also this year when nation leaders gathered in Paris to finalize sustainable programs that will mitigate the effects of Climate Change.
Let’s review some of the notable extreme weather events that happened all over the world.
1. Deadly Heat Wave
The heat wave in India broke headlines as the death toll climbed to more than 2,300 in the most affected states— Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Data from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirmed the intensity of the heat wave. In May, a scorching 43 degrees Celsius was recorded, enough to melt the pavement in New Delhi. The heat wave was observed for five consecutive days, and was considered to be the decade’s worst. It was also declared as the 5th deadliest heat wave in world history by the Indian Meteorological Department.
In June, a blistering 49 degrees Celsius was recorded in Pakistan, causing 2,000 casualties. Hot weather is a normal phenomenon in Pakistan during thesummer, but what made it worse was the power interruption that prevented people to seek relief in electric fans and air conditioning.
2. Worst Drought
According to NOAA, October 2015 was the warmest October ever recorded in the 136-year period. Droughts are among the inevitable impacts of dry days or less rainfall.
In 80 years, Brazil experienced the worst drought, where parts of Amazon had dried up by 25% since the year 2000.
In Central Valley, California where 40% of the US’s fruits, nuts and vegetables
came from, farmers resorted to drilling for water. According to scientists, the amount of snow in the Sierra Nevada was at its lowest in more than 500 years last September. California Governor Jerry Brown issued mandatory water restrictions in an effort to reduce water usage by 25% percent.
In August, the state of Washington suffered from wildfire, considered to be the largest of its kind this year. Upon the declaration of a federal emergency, soldiers were called in to help the firefighters. 170 homes were destroyed.
Last November, 6,000 fires in California were documented, burning more
than 300,000 acres. Due to the intense fires in the Amador and Calavares counties, a state of emergency was declared.
On Christmas Day, more than 100 houses were eaten up by wildfire in
Australia. The blaze occurred in the Victoria State’s Great Ocean Road and according to authorities, it could continue burning for weeks.
Another story that made it to the headlines is the forest fire in Indonesia that caused a haze blanketing Southeast Asia, back in August. For months, the forest fire in Indonesia blazed, said to be caused by corporations and small-scale farmers engaging in slash-and-burn methods or kaingin.
Kalimantan (Borneo) and Western Sumatra were among the worst hit areas.
The haze reached Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Philippines.
Approximately, 500,000 cases of respiratory tract infections were reported in all the affected countries due to the air quality. In the Philippines, during the onslaught of Lando (international name Koppu), haze was reported in Zamboanga, Davao, Cotabato and Cebu.
4. Severe Flooding
In October, Hurricane Joaquin induced torrential rains that ensued
widespread flooding in South Carolina, resulting to 17 casualties. Around 400,000 people were affected by the floods.
In November, three times the average rainfall fell in Chennai in India, and in December, nearly 16 inches of rain fell within a two-day period. Known as the 5th largest city, Chennai was submerged in flood water, forcing the Chennai Airport, Southern Railway, as well as roads and highways, to close down.
Tens of thousands of people were trapped in floodwaters.
In late April, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake shook Nepal, killing more than 9,000 people. 23,000 residents were confirmed injured, while 450,000 were displaced. Aside from the 30 historical landmarks that were totally damaged in Kathmandu Valley, thousands of buildings, houses and shrines were also destroyed.
A magnitude 8.3 earthquake struck off the coast of Chile in September.
Though no tsunami was monitored, a tsunami alert was issued for early
preparation. According to the Ministry of Chile, 20 people were injured and an estimated 1 million residents evacuated their homes.
The force of nature is inescapable; everyone is at its mercy. What we can do is to learn from these past disasters so we can better prepare for future impacts. As we mitigate the effects of Climate Change, so should we strengthen our disaster preparedness.
This 2015, we experienced fewer but enhanced Tropical Cyclones. A deciding factor is the strong El Niño, which continues to prevails throughout the world. But as we welcome the new year, here’s what we can expect, weather-wise.
According to PAGASA, the Amihan or Northeast Monsoon will prevail, bringing cold weather and light rains over Cagayan Valley and the province of Aurora. Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon will continue to have good weather conditions with chances of isolated light rains. Meanwhile, in Visayas and Mindanao, generally fair weather will be experienced, with possible localized thunderstorms in most parts of the eastern section due to the easterly wave.
For those who are still having their vacation out of town, you can still enjoy sightseeing as there will be NO bagyo on New Year’s Day.
In line with this, an average of 18-21 bagyo will be experienced this 2016. Here’s the lists of names of the possible bagyo.
But until then, let’s welcome New Year’s Day wholeheartedly, as we enjoy the good weather conditions it brings!
Disaster Preparedness is a constant goal. In order for us, Filipinos, to not only survive, but also thrive in the face of inevitable disasters, we must always learn from the lessons of the past.
Though 2013’s Super Typhoon Yolanda opened our eyes to the dangers of storm surges, this year also brought disasters that made headlines. Let’s take a look at how extreme weather events shaped another year.
No one will forget the day Pope Francis visited the Philippines. But what also made it memorable was that it was same day when Typhoon Amang entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).
Amang first made its landfall as a Tropical Storm on January 16 at 3 PM. It stayed inside the Philippine boundary for 4 days, leaving almost 5,000 families homeless. A total of 21,867 persons were displaced from Regions V, VII AND VIII.
A total of 22 roads, bridges and spillways became unpassable. Amang also caused 9 incidents of landslide, 10 flooding cases, and one maritime incident. 152 houses were damaged, mostly in Vigan, Catanduanes and Daet in Camarines Norte.
Due to the stormy weather condition, Northern and Western Samar suffered from power interruption.
The 12th cyclone for 2015, Typhoon Lando with international name Koppu entered the Philippine boundary last October 14, and made its exit on October 21. It was the High Pressure Area (HPA) located just above the West Philippine Sea that caused Lando stayed for one week inside the PAR.
The Cordillera region was severely damaged during the onslaught of Typhoon Lando. 35 people were killed in Northern and Central Luzon, while more than 900 thousand people were affected by flood.
A total of 540 houses were destroyed. Damages in infrastructure amounted to P559 million. Meanwhile, damages in agriculture reached P6.01 billion in Regions I, II, III, CALABARZON, V and CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region).
The slow-moving typhoon dumped more rain showers over Central and Northern Luzon. 15 towns in Cagayan province were affected by flood, as well as 91% percent of Cabanatuan.
A state of calamity was been declared in Nueva Ecija, Iligan City in Isabela and San Carlos City in Pangasinan.
Typhoon Nona, with international name Melor, entered PAR last December 12.
This month, the cold and dry Northeast Monsoon or amihan is the dominant wind system, which is not favorable to the enhancement of a cyclone. Because of this, a weather disturbance tends to move to a lower location, making Southern Luzon and Visayas more prone to landfall activities.
Nona made five landfalls as it traversed Visayas and Southern Luzon. The first three landfalls were made on Decemeber 14. Its first landfall was in Batag in Northern Samar, followed by its second one at Bulusan, Sorsogon. The third landfall was at Burias Island, Masbate. On December 15, it marked its fourth landfall in Banton Island in Romblon, while the last one was made in Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro.
NDRRMC reports that as of December 15, a total of 130,682 individuals were affected in one city, 52 municipalities and 11 provinces in Regions of IV-A, IV-B, V and VIII.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development released P42.237 worth of relief assistance to the Local Government Units.
Landslides in Cordillera and Ilocos Region claimed 4 lives as typhoon Ineng (Goni) battered Luzon last August. A 10-year-old boy died in a landslide in Sabangan in Ilocos Norte, while 3 casualties were recorded in CAR.
Approximately 1,000 individuals were evacuated as rains persisted in Luzon, particularly over Pangasinan, Zambales and Bataan, due to the combined effect of Ineng and the Southwest Monsoon (habagat).
Yellow rainfall warning was also hoisted in Metro Manila, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna and Bataan.
Filipinos are known to be resilient, but we must not forget what these calamities have taught us. We must use our experience from past disasters to strengthen disaster preparedness program.
Yesterday, Metro Manila once again set its new lowest record at 19.6 degrees Celsius. Aside from Metro Manila, several regions in Luzon also experienced lower temperatures.
The Northeast Monsoon remains to be the dominant weather system, continuously affecting Northern Luzon. With its onset last October 15, 2015, PAGASA said that we should expect colder days ahead especially during the Amihan’s peak in January and February. Watch the full interview here:
Today, light rains are expected in Ilocos, Cordillera and Cagayan. Fair weather with isolated light rains will prevail in the Metro and the rest of Luzon.
Meanwhile, localized thunderstorms will prevail in Visayas and Mindanao.
According to PAGASA, a significant drop in temperature was recorded yesterday. In Quezon City, the lowest temperature since the start of the Amihan season was at 20 degrees Celsius.
Authorities temporarily closed the Mt. Pulag Adventure Park as freezing (below zero degree Celsius) temperature was recorded on Christmas Day. Mt. Pulag is a popular destination for adventure seekers in between the province of Benguet, Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya.
PAGASA Weather Forecaster Benison Estareja said colder temperatures will continue until the end of 2015. Watch the full interview here:
Today, residents in Eastern Visayas, Davao Region, Caraga and Northern Mindanao are advised against light to moderate rain showers.
In Luzon, Cagayan Valley will have cloudy skies with light rains, while Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon will have a lower chance of rain showers today.
Moreover, good weather will prevail in the rest of the country.
As we bid goodbye to 2015, PAGASA Weather Forecaster Meno Mendoza says no weather disturbance or Tropical Cyclone is expected to affect the country. On the last Monday of the year, the Northeast Monsoon, locally known as Amihan prevails and continues to affect the extreme Northern Luzon.
Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated light rains will be experienced over the islands of Batanes, Babuyan and Calayan. Pinoys in the rest of the country can finish their errands and preparations for the upcoming New Year’s celebration as generally fair weather is expected. However, isolated thunderstorms may still occur in the latter part of the day so don’t forget to keep your rain gear with you!
Meanwhile, Mendoza added that sea travel for fishing boats and other small seacraft may be risky over the northern seaboard of Northern Luzon. Coastal waters over the rest of the archipelago will have slight to moderate seas.
Aside from isolated light rains, Amihan also triggers colder weather, mostly during the night or early mornings. Here are the lowest temperatures recorded yesterday:
Mendoza explained that temperatures this year are slightly higher that 2014 due to the El Niño phenomenon, which is still solidly in place. El Niño is expected to affect the country until the early part of 2016.
Kanlaon Volcano continues to emit ash
During the past 24 hours, twenty-nine volcanic earthquakes were recorded from Kanlaon Volcano in Negros. Still under Alert Level 1, it spewed ash from the active crater at around 1:29 PM yesterday.
According to the Philippine Institue to Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), traces of light ash fall were experienced in Sitio Guintubdan, Brgy. Ara-al, Brgy. Yubo, and Brgy. La Grania, La Carlota City, Brgy, Cabagnaan, Brgay. Sag-ang, La Castellana, Brgy. Miranda, Hinigaran in Negros Occidental, and the Municipality of Pontevedra in Negros Occidental. It even reached as far as Nueva Valencia in Guimaras.
The public and local government units are reminded to stay away from the 4-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) due to possible sudden and dangerous steam-driven or phreatic eruptions.
This year, Climate Change became an inevitable topic. It had always a pressing issue, but as the Climate Change Conference in Paris drew nearer, it made international headlines. So before the year comes to a close, let us look back at some of the most memorable events related to Climate Change.
Workshop in Communicating Climate Change
From September 29 to October 1, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), together with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Vietnam Television (VTV and Climate Central, organized a workshop for Asian weather presenters in Hanoi, Vietnam. The participants from the media learned how they can be instruments in communicating Climate Change effectively to the public.
As one of the Panahon TV weather reporters, yours truly was able to attend the event together with other presenters from Thailand, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia and Laos.
During the workshop, the speakers shared their knowledge on the basics of Climate Change, mitigation and adaptation, and the best practices in communicating the science. Bernadette Woods Placky, the Chief Meteorologist of Climate Central, gave her thoughts on the role of the media in simplifying the concept of Climate Change.
Read my experiences on the workshop here. Panahon TV goes to Vietnam: Workshop for Weather Presenters (Highlights of Days 2 and 3)
NANSEN Initiative Global Consultation
Every year, millions of people are being displaced every year due to natural disasters like tropical cyclones, flooding, landslides, drought and earthquakes. This figure, according to experts, may rise in the next decades as the adverse effects of Climate Change and population growth continue.
Last October 12 to 13 this year, the Nansen Initiative, a high-level intergovernmental meeting in Geneva discussed the resolutions for today’s disaster displacement, as well as preparatory actions for new challenges in the future. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) came up with 10 challenges that are climate and disaster displacement-related:
• recognizing the facts
• recognizing that people rarely flee for just one reason
• finding out who are the displaced
• preventing displacement
• compiling better data
• analyzing risks
• preventing people from becoming poorer
• ensuring formal protection
• ensuring protection in practice
• commiting and working together
Climate Vulnerable Forum
On November 9 to 11, the most vulnerable countries to Climate Change impacts known as the V20, got together to talk about Climate Change. These low and middle-income, small and developing countries include Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Maldives, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Ghana, Nepal, East Timor, Barbados, Kenya, Philippines, Tuvalu, Bhutan, Kiribati, Rwanda, Vanuatu, Costa Rica, Madagascar, Saint Lucia and Viet Nam.
Since these nations were the ones that usually experienced extreme weather events and the impacts of the changing climate, they needed to raise their voice to fight the climate issue. This forum served as a preparation for the COP21 or the 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris, France.
As part of the Climate Change Consciousness Week, the annual Greeneration event took place at the SMX Convention Center last November 25. Students from different schools in the Philippines gathered to affirm their responsibilities in climate action.
November 25 was also declared by the President as the National Day of Youth for Climate Change. Through the “#nowPH” campaign, the youth was able to show their determination in strengthening efforts to combat Climate Change. In fact, a human banner was formed in Rizal High School, participated by students and climate action advocates.
The National Youth Commission (NYC), together with the Climate Change Commission (CCC) of the Philippines, came up with 15 ways to lower emissions. These tips were recommended by students all over the country.
Just a few days before the Paris conference, a climate march was held on November 28. Representatives from different organizations such as Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, World Wide Fund (WWF), Greenpeace, Global Catholic Climate Movement and Philippine Movement for Climate Justice walked altogether to express their thoughts and raise their concerns about the lack of efforts in climate action.
They called for a fair agreement in the upcoming COP21 and the nations’ clearer commitments to renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels. This march also aimed to convince world leaders and emphasize the need to protect vulnerable countries like the Philippines, from the worsening threats of Climate Change.
After so many years, the 1st universal legally binding deal on climate action became successful. The 21st Conference of the Parties, dubbed as COP21, became the biggest climate conference of the year. It was held on November 30 to December 12 in Paris despite the alleged terrorist attacks prior to the event.
The COP21 showed how different countries committed themselves to keep the temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius—or if possible, 1.5 degrees Celsius. Though highly ambitious, this target will reduce the risks and impacts of Climate Change. Higher than the said target may aggravate the impacts of Climate Change, such as more disastrous weather events, severe droughts, record-breaking heat, melting of glaciers and rising sea levels.
Over 100 leaders all over the globe pledged to opt for renewable energy sources to lessen greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human activities. The conference also required the most developed nations to be responsible and provide financial support to the small and vulnerable countries regarding climate issues.
As we face the year ahead, Climate Change is sure to be more relevant than ever. With its growing threat and impacts, the time to act is now. So don’t just shrug off the issue; read about it, learn from it, and act on it. It’s the only way we can allow future generations to live in a world filled with the best of what nature has to offer.
Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated light rains are expected in Batanes, Calayan and the Babuyan Group of Islands as the Amihan continues to affect extreme Northern Luzon. Meanwhile, clear skies with a chance of rain showers are expected in Metro Manila and the rest of the archipelago as we count down the last 6 days before the year ends.
According to PAGASA Weather Forecaster Jorie Loiz, expect cold weather in the whole Luzon as Amihan intensifies. Loiz added that cold winds might affects Visayas as well as Amihan reaches its peak. So be ready with your sweaters and blankets as you sleep in this holiday season!
‘Tis the season to be merry as we are lucky enough to see the rare Christmas Full Moon tonight at 7:11 PM according to PAGASA. The last recorded Christmas Full Moon was in 1977, and tonight, it will be clearly seen again on a cold starry night after 38 years. But because we are a tropical country, the chance of isolated thunderstorms is always present. However, if skies remain clear, you’ll see the moon in its full glory tonight. The next time this phenomenon will happen will be in the year 2034.
The only downside is that when the moon is full, high tide occurs, making low-lying areas susceptible to flooding.