The increasing volcanic activities in the Pacific Ring of Fire have sparked speculations and concerns that a catastrophic disaster is coming. Based on the website Volcano Discovery, almost three dozen volcanoes throughout the Ring of Fire are currently erupting or showing unrest at this time. One of them is the Mayon Volcano in Albay. These volcanoes are exhibiting ash explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lava fountains, which are dangerous to the communities and animals around them.
But these activities are normal, according to Yosuki Aoki, assistant professor of Physical Volcanology at the University of Tokyo. Aoki stressed that volcanoes typically go through active and inactive cycles.
According to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) Center for Science Education, volcanic activities have an impact on climate change and vice versa. As the climate continues to deteriorate mainly because of man-made activities, these two can create devastating long-term effects on our planet.
Volcanic eruptions are part of the Earth’s natural processes. These happen when lava, gas, and other hot materials are thrown out of a volcano, or through its vent.
Its first stage happens when rocks inside the Earth’s crust melt, thus, producing magma, which is lighter than rocks. As magma fills the chamber, pressure builds. This pressure becomes intense when the chamber is already filled with thick and sticky magma, leading to an explosive eruption.
Volcanoes also release toxic gases during eruption. While water vapor comprises the biggest portion of gases released by a volcano, other particles such as carbon dioxide, hydrochloric acid, hydrogen fluoride, sulfur dioxide, and methane are also thrown into the atmosphere. These volcanic gases are harmful to humans, animals, and other living things. Aside from causing respiratory ailments, these may also inhibit plant growth.
On the other hand, a change in climate patterns, whether global or regional, is called climate change. It is largely attributed to the significant amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which are produced by human activities and our negligence to protect the environment.
Among the effects of climate change on our planet are global warming and cooling, rising sea levels, and the melting of glaciers. Global warming, which is the rise of the average global temperature in the last five decades, is caused by greenhouse gases trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere, which keeps heat from escaping.
A group of researchers from the University of Leeds in England studied the relationship of glaciers and volcanoes in Iceland. They concluded that there are fewer eruptions and lava volume when the climate is cooler, and the land has a thick glacial cover.
Researchers also found that when there is a glacial retreat, the pressure between the glacial ice and surface decreases. Thus, it is much easier for magma to rise into the surface.
Another study led by British and American researchers and published in the journal, Nature, shows that massive amounts of carbon dioxide from volcanic eruptions triggered a global warming episode 66 million years ago. This event is called the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). Scientists described the period as the “most rapid and extreme natural global warming event” in the last 66 million years. Almost 90% of the carbon dioxide emissions were from volcanic eruptions during that time. Large quantities of carbon resulted in its concentration in the atmosphere. An average global temperature increase of 5 degrees Celsius was observed for about 150,000 years.
Volcanic eruptions also contribute to global cooling. Often called as “volcanic winter”, volcanic ash and sulfuric acid in the atmosphere reduce the global temperature. This is because particles block solar radiation.
In 1991, Mount Pinatubo unleashed massive eruption after an almost 600-year slumber. Ash and particles ejected into the atmosphere reached as high as 34 kilometers into the stratosphere. Thousands of civilians living within the 30-kilometer radius from the crater were evacuated days before and during the event.
During the June 15 climactic eruption, Typhoon Yunya struck the island of Luzon which brought wet ashfall to the entire island, and also affected several Asian countries such as Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. About 15 million tons of sulfur dioxide from Pinatubo went into the stratosphere, reacting with water to create aerosol particles, thus, blocking solar radiation. The aerosols scattered across the globe, and decreased the global temperature by about 0.6 degrees Celsius in the next 15 months after the eruption.
Natural vs Man–made
The interaction between volcanic eruptions and climate is a natural process since time immemorial. The Earth has endured many effects from this interaction.
However, the main contributors to the current climate crisis are man-made activities. These factors have already surpassed the effects of natural processes that triggered past global warming and cooling events.
The negative effects of human activities on the planet may aggravate the interaction between eruptions and climate. However, we can minimize the effects of this deadly interaction if we change our habits, and show concern and care for our environment.
By Panahon TV Intern Kent Ryan Masing
From weather and the environment, to disaster preparedness and climate change, 2017 has been a year of changes and adaptation. As we welcome the New Year, let’s look back at past issues which have helped shape the future.
WEATHER AND CLIMATE
PAGASA began using impact-based weather forecasting this year, wherein apart from forecasting weather conditions, effects of weather disturbances are also explained. This emphasizes the effects of a hazard rather than merely identifying it. Impact-based forecasting and warning services focus on translating meteorological and hydrological hazards into specific impacts, and the development of responses to mitigate such impacts. This year, 22 tropical cyclones visited the Philippines with the last two as the most devastating.
On December 13, the Low Pressure Area in Surigao del Sur intensified into a Tropical Depression and was named Urduja. Three days later, it made landfall in Eastern Samar, and continued to traverse Masbate, Sibuyan and Cuyo Islands and Taytay, Palawan. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), 1.8 million individuals were displaced by “Urduja,” while 47 perished. Right after “Urduja” exited the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), Tropical Depression Vinta took over. Heavy rains from the storm inundated parts of Visayas and Mindanao where flash floods and landslides occurred. On December 22 and 23, the storm hit Cateel, Davao Oriental and Balabac, Palawan respectively. 720,000 were displaced, while 163 were reported dead.
In the last quarter of the year, PAGASA warned Filipinos to prepare for a developing La Niña, a weather phenomenon characterized by above-normal rainfall, colder temperatures and stronger winds from the east. According to the Climate Information Monitoring and Prediction Section of the weather bureau, the La Niña is not expected to last beyond March 2018 but the public is still alerted against possible effects.
Abroad, Hurricane Harvey swept through Texas in August where it killed 82 people and dumped 51 inches of rain, the greatest amount ever recorded from a single storm in the continental United States. In September, Hurricane Irma left a trail of destruction, taking 69 lives and displacing 1.2 million people in the Caribbean. Hurricane Maria struck in Dominca and Puerto Rico lastmonth, causing more than 1,000 deaths. Heavy rains also crippled Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India and Nepal this year.
Efforts to protect the environment continued in 2017. In February, the former Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez announced the cancellation of 75 contracts of mining firms that according to her “kills the watershed and kills our lives.” Three months later, Lopez’s confirmation of office was rejected by the Commission on Appointments. It was followed by a series of protests, which involved blocking the DENR head office gates in Quezon City, as the group disputed the alleged control of business interests in the government.
While Lopez was dethroned, another woman with a heart for the environment was crowned. In November, our very own Karen Ibasco was named Miss Earth 2017 with her winning answer to the pageant’s question: “Who or what do you think is the biggest enemy of Mother Earth and why?” Her reply was “I believe that the real problem in this world is not climate change; the real problem is us because of our ignorance and apathy. What we have to do is to start changing our ways, to start recalibrating our minds, and redirecting our steps, because together, as a global community, our micro efforts will have a macro effect to help save our home, our planet.”
DISASTERS AND PREPAREDNESS
Earthquakes also remained as the country’s staple disaster. The strongest among these were recorded in Tongkil in Sulu, Surigao del Norte, Batangas, Lanao del Sur, Davao Occidental and Ormoc in Leyte. The April earthquake in Mabini, Batangas recorded an Intensity 7 ground shaking and was felt in Cavite, Oriental Mindoro, Bulacan, Metro Manila, Quezon, Pampanga and Camarines Norte. Six persons were reported injured, and a state of calamity was declared in Mabini, Tingloy and Batangas City.
In November, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised Alert Level 2 in Mt. Kanlaon in Negros Occidental after it showed an intrusion of magma that could lead to the volcano’s eruption. To prepare the country for future earthquakes, Phivolcs held simultaneous drills across the archipelago in every quarter of the year.
Abroad, wild fires, droughts, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes also happened in 2017. In January, a magnitude 5.7 earthquake jolted Italy that resulted to 300 deaths. Almost 400 people were reported dead in a magnitude 8.2 tremor in Mexico last September. The year’s deadliest earthquake stuck Iran-Iraq boarders in November, killing 452 individuals and injuring thousands. In January, Chile and Portugal witnessed the worst wildfires in their countries’ histories. Blazes gutted Napa Valley, California in October, killing more than 40 people in the state’s deadliest wildfire. Just weeks later, Los Angeles’ highways were transformed into a hot hellscape as hills broke out in flames.
While United States President Donald Trump announced the country’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, talks about mitigating climate change continued. In June, the leader of the world’s second biggest carbon emitter said that the agreement imposed unfair environment standards in the US.
At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in November, negotiators from almost 200 countries approved a five-year work plan on “loss and damage” to formally address slow-onset impacts of climate change, non-economic losses and migration. Meanwhile, 47 of the world’s poorest countries, committed to generating 100% of their energy from renewable sources as soon as possible. They also pledged to update their nationally determined contributions before 2020 and to prepare long-term strategies.
2017 brought immense challenges on a global scale. But with each trial came the need to change the way we respond to issues on weather, environment, disasters and climate change. As we face another year, we come equipped with the lessons that we learned from the past year.
Climate change has become a major concern, not only in the Philippines, but all over the globe. Through the past decades, it has claimed thousands of lives, polluted many cities, destroyed natural resources, caused economic drop, and even prompted conflicts. There is no doubt; this concern should be a priority.
We only have few more days before we cast our votes for the National Election. By now, some of you may already have presidential bets; but for those who are still undecided, take time to read this and ask yourself: “Am I voting for the right person?”
Top of the list
Each candidate has his or her own plan of action. As voters, we should also consider the presidentiables’ agenda for climate change and disaster preparedness. Why? Here are the main reasons:
1. Our country belongs to the V20.
The top 20 countries, which are most vulnerable to climate change impacts, also referred to as the “V20”, include Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Maldives, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Ghana, Nepal, East Timor, Barbados, Kenya, Tuvalu, Bhutan, Kiribati, Rwanda, Vanuatu, Costa Rica, Madagascar, Saint Lucia, Vietnam and yes, the Philippines.
These are low and middle-income, small and developing countries that usually experience the adverse effects of climate change, such as extreme drought and destructive typhoons.
2. We have a commitment.
In line with the celebration of Earth Day (April 22, 2016), the Philippines signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje represented the country in the covenant signing held in New York.
This marked our commitment to support the United Nations and other countries in fighting climate change by limiting the warming of the earth below 1.5 degrees Celsius. In a press release of the Climate Change Commission (CCC), it stated that the Philippines pledged a 70% emission reduction by 2030.
3. Philippines is renewable-rich.
During his visit to our country last March, Former US Vice President and Founder of Climate Reality Project, Al Gore, highlighted that the Philippines is rich in renewable energy, which is naturally regenerated or replenished over a short period of time. Some are derived directly from the sun like thermal or photochemical energy.
Other forms of renewable energy are wind, hydropower, geothermal and tidal.
Using renewable energy will help in combating the impacts of climate change because these do not produce greenhouse gases unlike fossil fuels.
Meanwhile, Oxfam has mentioned in one of their studies that the Philippines is the world’s second largest producer of geothermal power and has the largest potential for wind power in South-East Asia.
With these, our president-to-be should also know how to maximize our natural energy sources. Not only could this help reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, it could also create more jobs.
4. Earthquakes can hit us anytime.
Though volcanic activities and ground shaking are not directly associated to climate change, part of being a “green” candidate is being able to create stronger disaster preparedness plans. Aside from an average of 19 to 20 tropical cyclones each year, our country also needs to be prepared for earthquakes.
Unlike tropical cyclones, we cannot forecast when and where an earthquake will occur. It can strike any location, at any time. Being one of the countries situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines is highly prone to strong quakes.
We will never forget the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that shook Central Visayas on October 2013. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) already warned that an earthquake with the same magnitude, now dubbed as “The Big One”, is possible in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
A Quick Look at the Presidentiables’ Agenda
Five candidates are vying to be next President of the Republic of the Philippines. What are their views on climate action and disaster preparedness?
• Establish a separate, full-time, cabinet-level disaster resilience and emergency management agency, which will serve as the focal agency for integrated disaster resilience, climate change adaptation and mitigation and emergency management.
• Provide technical assistance and share good practices in order to capacitate LGUs to integrate climate change and disaster risk reduction management plans into their respective local development plans.
• Make full use of the People’s Survival Fund and establish transparency and accountability mechanisms in the selection and monitoring of projects.
• Accelerate the exploration, development, and promotion of renewable energy sources in order to reduce harmful emissions.
• Support the modernization of disaster mitigation agencies to improve their forecast and monitoring capabilities following the passage of the PAGASA Modernization Bill.
• Clarify and provide guidelines on the roles of local government units and national government during disasters to avoid confusion and overlapping of responsibilities.
• Invest in productivity-enhancing infrastructure to boost agriculture.
• Invest in irrigation and water-impounding facilities in order to allow more planting cycles, and to minimize the impact of El Niño and La Niña.
• Finance programs that would expand the use of new seed varieties, and modern technology in order to increase farm yield.
• Invest in research and technology.
• Lead the creation of an independent disaster risk reduction and management agency to enhance the capacity of government and communities to prevent, mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the impact of disasters.
• Invest in community-based disaster preparedness programs.
• Implement student-led disaster preparedness education in schools.
• Create citizen-led hazard mapping and risk reduction.
• Separate auditing of international aid.
• Amend EPIRA law.
• Review and reconsider the privatization of the energy industry under the EPIRA and see if it contradicts constitutional provisions on ownership of natural resources and Philippine obligations under the international law of human rights.
• Fast-track and wholeheartedly implement renewable energy policies.
• Support environmental protection.
• Reduce greenhouse gases to mitigate climate change.
• Explore natural gas and diversify country’s energy mix.
• Harness available energy sources in strict compliance with the highest standards of safety for communities and the environment to fuel the development of important sectors such as manufacturing, which can generate stable, reliable and long-term sources of income for Filipinos.
• Support EPIRA law.
• Raise people’s awareness and understanding on climate change.
• Pass the Sustainable Forest Management Act into law.
• Formulate policies/programs that would strengthen the national government and the resilience of local government units (LGUs) to address issues on climate change.
• Strengthen or reform the Building Code for disaster-resilient infrastructures.
• In schools, disaster mitigation and preparedness must be included in the educational curriculum.
• Secure financing schemes for climate change projects.
• Ensure the implementation of the Flood Management Master Plan for Metro Manila and surrounding areas.
• Amend Philippine environmental policy to institutionalize climate change adaptation measures, apart from the climate change law.
• Strictly implement environmental and land use laws. Food crop areas should be maintained.
• Develop a climate adaptation fund per region to enable adaptation in agriculture and food production, which are vulnerable to climate change.
• Implement climate-smart technologies, such as rainwater impoundment and collection regulations.
• Pursue a policy that will prevent the Philippines from being a significant contributor to greenhouse gases even as we industrialize.
RECAP: Presidential Debate
One of the main topics covered during the 2nd Presidential Debate held in Cebu was climate change. Poe, Roxas and Duterte shared their thoughts on it. (Santiago was not present)
Question: “Nag-commit po ang Pilipinas sa United Nations na babawasan natin ang polusyon na hanggang 70% by 2030. Pero inaprubahan ni Pangulong Aquino ang maraming coal-fired plants para sa energy security natin. Paano natin matutupad ang ating commitment sa UN habang tumataas naman ang dependence natin sa coal para sa ating energy security?”
(The Philippines committed to reduce emissions down to 70% by 2030. However, President Aquino still approved numerous coal-fired plants for our energy security. How can we ensure our commitment to UN when we are still dependent on coal?)
Poe: “…sa tingin ko ang una nating gawin ay ilikas ang 13 million six hundred na mga residente dun sa mga high risk areas. Yun ang una, prevention. Pangalawa, isipin natin ang mga magsasaka natin. (I think we have to evacuate those who are in high-risk areas. Prevention is priority. Next, we need to think about our farmers.)
“…drought ngayon, kailangan natin ang drought resistant na pananim para naman patuloy ang buhay nila. Kailangan tayo magkaroon ng mga dams, mga water entrapment facilities, mga flood control projects para naman maligtas natin ang ating mga kababayan. (We need drought-resistant plants for our farmers so they can sustain their livelihood. We also need dams, water-entrapment facilities and flood-control projects to ensure the safety of the people.)
Roxas: “Well, napakahalaga na simulan natin ang transition towards clean energy dahil tayo isa sa pinaka-tinatamaan ng epekto ng global warming… Importante na simulan natin ang pagtungo sa clean energy.” (It is very important to start transitioning towards clean energy because we are highly affected by global warming.)
“‘Pag ako’y naging pangulo, bibigyan ko ng insentiba yung natural gas, yung mga iba pang clean energy tulad ng geo, tulad ng hydro para yung ating energy mix, which right now is 50% coal and oil ay mabawasan ng sa ganon mas maraming malinis na energy ang gagamitin natin.” (If I become the president, I will give incentives to natural gas and other forms of clean energy such as geo and hydro. In that way, our energy mix, which is right now 50% coal and oil, will be lessened and more clean energy will be utilized.)
Duterte: “We only contribute a third of the footprints – carbon footprints, so very little. And yet, we are a growing country, we need to industrialize, we need energy. Ang sabi ko, susunod tayo,(I said we are going to cooperate), but you know even climate change – climate change does not have to be discussed. It is here. El Niño is the climate change. Kaya ning mga lupa mo maski saan-saan,(The lands in most areas), they are cracking up, even in Luzon. That’s pollution.
Your climate change is already there. So what we should do is to do remedial measures, pero huwag lang tayo, because we have noticed that those who are really into heavy industries are the first world countries.”
The Green Cards
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF– Philippines) posted on their Facebook account about the Green Score Cards from the Green Thumb Coalition. These results were from surveys, platforms and background of the candidates in terms of agriculture, biodiversity, climate, energy, and development issues.
Be a Green Voter!
The future of our planet lies on how our leaders protect the environment. Think, assess and choose your President carefully. It doesn’t matter what color your bet represents; let’s go for green agendas!
Many of us are afraid of the dark. But there’s something good about the darkness— something that could very well light up our future.
Climate Change has become one of the most important moral issues in the world today. Everyone has the responsibility to take action against it even in the simplestway.
March marks the time of the year when nations unite in switching off lights for an entire hour. Organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Earth Hour is a global event wherein all participating countries turn off all non-essential lights for 60 minutes.
But more than an event, this is also an annual movement that has created environmental and social impact. It aims to unite people, regardless of age and race, in protecting the planet.
Presently considered as the biggest environmental event in the world, Earth Hour began as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007, which was later on joined by more than 170 countries across the globe.
Any plans for Earth Hour? Here are some of the fun activities you can do in the dark:
1. Dine in candlelight.
Invite your friends over for an intimate dinner. A candle-lit meal may also be shared with your special someone. Bust out the wine, and talk about happy memories while enjoying your favorite food.
Take a nap or sleep early. An hour of dim light is a great opportunity for you to relax your mind while enjoying some light music. You may also want to get a massage that would certainly give you a rejuvenated feeling.
3. Boost creativity.
The absence of light won’t make you less creative. Put some art in the dark! Though light is a very essential factor in photography, Earth Hour may be the perfect time to practice taking photos with a low light source.
4. Get moving.
Physical activities are also in during this hour. Get active by having a night run or walk around but make sure you take extra caution as there will be a limited source of light. You can also do yoga poses or try new exercise tricks inside your home. Support Earth Hour while getting fit and healthy!
5. Gaze at the sky.
If the weather is good and the sky is clear, sky gazers can have their fill of heavenly bodies! Get your mat, prepare your telescope, and go on a night picnic while enjoying the view of the stars and the moon.
There’s a lot to do during Earth Hour on March 19,Saturday. In the Philippines, there will be a “Switch-off Event” at the Quezon City Memorial Circle. Booths and exhibits will be open by 4:00 PM, while the switch-off ceremony will begin at 7:30 PM. Renewable technology and sustainable transportation will be showcased too! And just like any other event, all participants are advised to follow proper decorum and maintain cleanliness at all times.
Remember, protecting our planet goes beyond the Earth Hour. Protecting the environment is a lifetime commitment that each of us must take on.
Here are other ways that we can do everyday to help combat climate change:
World Wide Fund
Climate Change Commission
It crosses borders on social classes, age and gender. When it comes to the dengue fever, no one is safe.
It’s a viral disease that can be spread through the Aedes aegypti mosquito, whose breeding habitat thrives in wet climates like what we we have in our country. This is because these mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water and flooded areas.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there is an estimated 390 million dengue infections a year– of which 96 million are clinically manifested. Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) recorded 92,807 dengue cases as of September last year– 23.5% higher than the recorded cases in 2014.
Climate Change and Dengue
Due to the strong El Niño the Philippines is continuously experiencing, DOH expects to have a higher number of dengue cases this year. This is because El Niño can cause stronger typhoons that can lead to flooding, which can contribute to dengue production. Increased stagnant water leads to an increase of dengue-carrying larva. And because more people are storing water to survive the water shortage, this may also be a factor in the spreading of the virus, according to the DOH.
The extreme temperature and drought in some areas are also favorable conditions for the virus. When the weather is cold, mosquitoes hibernate, which may lead to their death. During dry conditions, their eggs can survive for months.
Other factors that cause dengue
According to DOH spokesman Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy, the increase in globalization, urbanization and jet travel make human interaction more frequent. Where there are crowded areas, the practice of storing water may be common because of the stiff competition for water sources because of the El Ñino.
In a highly urbanized area, such as Metro Manila, wet markets abound with questionable hygienic practices. It is because of this that the DOH is strongly urging the people to keep their surroundings clean, and to always cover stored water.
Did you know?
Dengue can be found in tropical and sub-tropical climates worldwide, and mostly in urban and semi-urban areas. These are cities and towns where human structures like houses, commercial buildings, bridges, railways, and bridges can be found. The higher the population, the faster the rate the dengue virus can spread.
Department of Health Secretary Janette Garin announced last December that the first vaccine against dengue will be available in the country this month. This medicine was tested and approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and was manufactured by French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur. The vaccine is suitable for all four types of dengue patients, ranging from 9 to 45 years old.
But you can still prevent dengue through these simple routines:
· Regularly clean your area.
· Use mosquito nets over your bed.
· Wear long sleeves.
· Use mosquito repellant.
· At the onset of any symptom above, immediately consult a doctor.
· Support local fogging in your area.
The forest fire in Indonesia that began in July caused haze in nearby countries, including the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Southern Thailand. Kalimantan (Borneo) and Western Sumatra in Indonesia are among the worst hit areas.
19 people have died, while approximately 500,000 cases of respiratory tract infections were recorded. According to the Indonesian government, damages in the region’s economy may be as high as $47 billion.
The cause is Slash and Burn, a process of forest clearance where land is set on fire in preparation for planting. In the Philippines, this is called as kaingin. Because most part of Indonesia’s forests is made of peat soil, which is highly flammable, fires tend to spread farther.
Reports from Climate Central said that forest fires happen annually in Indonesia, but this year is second to the most prolific burn that has ever been recorded, especially since the El Niño has aggravated it.
According to PAGASA, during the onslaught of Lando (international name Koppu) on October 14 to 21 this year, haze has been reported in some parts of the country, including Zamboanga, Davao, Cotabato and Cebu. Lando blew in winds from Indonesia, causing the haze to spread in the country.
Haze, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, is visible when sunlight encounters pollution particles present in the air, reducing the clarity and colors of objects.
Based on the Pollutant Standard Index (PSI) of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the haze in the affected areas cause no harm to the community. Although the Department of Health (DOH) announced that the haze-affected air is still safe to breathe, residents are advised to take precautionary measures. Staying indoors with good ventilation and wearing dust masks when going outside the house is highly advisable.
Extreme haze conditions pose health risks. Particulate matter less than 10 micrometers can penetrate the lungs; its effects linked to premature death, difficulty in breathing, and increased respiratory symptoms among children.
The DOH reminds those with cardiovascular diseases that haze can increase respiratory tract infections and cardiac ailments.
Haze can also affect industrial sectors. Because it can obscure the clarity of the surroundings and the atmosphere, transportation and tourism may be affected.
According to Climate Central, fire emissions in Indonesia have surpassed Japan’s annual greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). These contribute to rising global temperatures that may lead to more disastrous events, such as more frequent Super Typhoons and the melting of polar ice caps that could lead to sea level rise.
The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit 2015 currently happening in Manila is setting the stage for greater progress in mitigating Climate Change. Another global Climate Change conference will be held in Paris on November 30 to December 11, 2015. Through these conferences, more and more countries are getting involved in fighting this global concern.
Read more about Climate Change through this link: Climate Clever: 10 Climate Change Terms You Need to Know Now
We always hear about it, but do we really know what it really is? Throughout the globe, Climate Change is a pressing concern that has both environmental and human impacts. Let us familiarize ourselves with the key terms related to this global concern, especially since knowledge is the key to action.
Climate is the general weather pattern in a specific area that involves temperature, humidity, rainfall, air pressure and other meteorological variables over a long period of time. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), climate is the average weather condition based on 30 years of observation.
2. Climate Change
The long-term shift in weather patterns in a region is defined as Climate Change. This includes changes in precipitation, temperatures, sea levels and many more. It is also a phenomenon brought by the increased emission of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.
According to Dr. Rosa Perez from the Climate Change Commission (CCC), Climate Change can be caused by natural occurrences or induced by humans. Natural causes include the sun’s activity, volcanic eruption and other natural events that contribute to the warming of the earth.
But the problem now is that Climate Change has worsened due to human activities, such as burning of fossil fuels, clearing of forests, improper waste management and production of industrialized products.
Several studies about Climate Change show that it could lead to these extreme weather events and unusual changes in the ecosystem:
– Increase in global temperature
– Sea Level Rise
– Retreat of glaciers and melting of sea ice
– Changes in precipitation
– Heat waves, tornadoes, stronger typhoons and heavy rainfall
– Longer, more severe droughts
– Expansion of subtropical deserts
– Species endangerment and extinction and loss of biodiversity
– Melting of permafrost
– Decline in agricultural yields
– Spread of vector-borne diseases because of increased range of insects
– Ocean acidification and destruction of coral reef
3. Greenhouse Gas & Greenhouse Effect
Greenhouse gas (GHG) is a chemical compound found in the Earth’s atmosphere. Composed of carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and other man-made gases, Greenhouse gases keep our planet liveable by holding in the heat energy of the Earth. These gases allow much of the solar radiation to enter the atmosphere, warming the planet’s surface. Some of this energy is reflected back towards space.
Without greenhouse gases, the Earth will be an icy wasteland. But the problem we face right now is the increasing amount of GHGs in the atmosphere. The more greenhouse gas molecules, more heat is also trapped in the atmosphere due to greenhouse effect. And we all know that too much heat can be just as fatal as the lack of it.
4. Global Warming
The interaction between the earth and incoming radiation from the sun leads to global warming. It is the gradual heating of the Earth’s surface, oceans and atmosphere.
5. Sea Level Rise
Sea level rise, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is the increase in the mean level of the ocean. It is caused by two factors: added water from the melting of land ice, and expansion of water as it warms. Simply put, due to the warming of the Earth, more glaciers or land ice tend to melt. Also, when water is heated, it expands.
6. Fossil Fuels
Fossil fuels are non-renewable resources that formed from prehistoric plants and animals buried by layers of rock or soil millions of years ago. These include oil, coal and natural gas. The formation of a fossil fuel depends on different factors, such as the combination of organic matter, how long it was buried, and its exposure to temperature and pressure.
7. Renewable Energy
Renewable energy is energy naturally regenerated or replenished over a short period of time. Some are derived directly from the sun like thermal or photochemical enegy. Other forms of renewable energy are wind, hydropower, geothermal and tidal.
Using renewable energy will help in combating the impacts of Climate Change because these do not produce greenhouse gases, unlike fossil fuels.
Policies and measures aimed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions fall under mitigation. It includes reducing the demand for emission-intensive goods or services, while increasing the demand for low-carbon technologies. Mitigation also includes coping with the causes of Climate Change.
Adaptation is adjusting to natural or human systems in response to Climate Change. This could also serve as a practical step to protect communities. If mitigation is coping with the causes or the root of Climate Change, adaptation is coping with its effects.
Examples of Climate Change adaptation is putting up the partial drainage of the Tsho Rolpha glacial lake in Nepal, changing livelihood strategies in response to permafrost melt in Nunavut, Canada, and water management in Australia. In the Philippines, sea walls were built in the coastal areas of Leyte to protect the community from the impact of a storm surge.
V20 refers to the 20 countries that are highly vulnerable to Climate Change impacts. These are low and middle-income, small and developing countries which usually experience the adverse effects of the changing climate. These 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.
No weather disturbance or tropical cyclone is expected to affect the country within the next 24 hours. However, due to the prevailing Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), some areas will experience rainy weather. CARAGA, Zamboanga Peninsula and the province of Palawan must be prepared for cloudy skies, which may bring light to moderate rains and isolated thunderstorms.
ITCZ is a weather system where winds coming from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres meet. As winds converge, convective clouds are formed. Considered to be a breeding ground of low pressure areas, weather disturbances often develop in this area.
The rest of the country will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated thunderstorms. Meanwhile, despite the absence of a gale warning, fishing boats and other small seacraft are advised to be cautious in venturing out into the seaboards especially in Northern Luzon.
For today’s temperatures in the key cities of the Philippines, Metro Manila can expect a range of 24 to 33 degrees Celsius while Metro Cebu will have 26 to 32 degrees Celsius. Temperatures in Metro Davao will be at 25 to a possible high of 33 degrees Celsius.
Aside from the temperature, relative humidity is also included in PAGASA’s forecast. Humidity is the amount of moisture in the air. PAGASA Weather Forecaster Buddy Javier says that the high temperature and humidity may make our bodies feel warmer.
Climate Vulnerable Forum takes place in Manila
The Climate Change Commission, together with the Department of Foreign Affairs, is holding the 3rd Vulnerable Forum (CVF) from November 9 to 11, 2015 in Diamond Hotel. CVF is composed of 20 countries known as the V20. These countries are the low and middle-income, small and developing countries which are vulnerable to climate change.
The event aims to strengthen the voice of participating countries for the upcoming negotiations in Paris this December. CVF also helps in preparing and improving climate action plans, including mitigation and adaptation.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Vitetnam Television (VTV), and Climate Central organized a workshop for Asian weather presenters to talk about climate change and how they can be instruments in communicating it to the public. With the theme “Hanoi Workshop for Weather Presenters: Communicating the Science of Climate Change” began on September 29, 2015 in Hanoi, Vietnam.
This article talks about the firsthand experience of Panahon TV’s resident “Weather Lover” Amor Larrosa in being a workshop participant.
When I first found out that I will be representing Panahon TV in this workshop, I was hesitant at first, since it would be my first time to travel abroad. Later on, I realized how blessed I was to have the chance to interact and learn with other weather presenters from different parts of Asia.
I arrived in Hanoi at around 3 PM on Monday. On my way to the hotel, I noticed that there are lots of motorcycles in Hanoi, the province’s dominant mode of transportation.
We had our first dinner in Quang Ngon Restaurant, where I ate a lot of spring rolls and a taste of local beer. I had a great time on my first night in Vietnam, not only because of the food, but also because of the company as I had already met my co-participants.
The next day, the workshop started with a tour of Vietnam Television. I was amazed with one of their studios which was considered to be one of the biggest studios in Asia. It was multi-functional so it was able accommodate big events, such as fashion shows, concerts and many more.
On Tuesday morning, the workshop began with opening remarks given by Ho Kien, the chief of international relations of VTV. This was followed by an introduction from Michael Williams, the Chief of Communications and Public Affairs of WMO.
To get to know each other, participants were asked to introduce themselves. I talked about myself, including my work and experiences. It was nice to see them smile when I mentioned my TV monicker “Weather Lover”.
This icebreaker was followed by presentations about the physical science basis of climate change. Prof. Edvin Aldrian of the IPCC began by saying that the future of climate change depends on our ability to decouple future emissions brought by two factors: population and economic growth. Our goal is to reduce the emission.
Prof. Aldrian explained the difference between adaptation and mitigation. Adaptation is about coping with the effect and managing the unavoidable, while mitigation is coping with the cause and avoiding the unmanageable. He also mentioned that the El Niño was becoming more frequent and more intense now.
Meanwhile, Phan Van Tan, who is a meteorologist in Vietnam, talked about the climate change in their country. He said that temperatures tend to increase with the periodic variability. He added that the annual rainfall in the northern part of Vietnam had slowly decreased. Through the years, the number of cool days also decreased, resulting in more days that were warm.
Dr. Rosa Perez, one of the Filipino experts when it comes to climate change, shared our experiences in the Philippines. She highlighted the impact of typhoon “Yolanda” and the role of the media in providing the information to the public. Dr. Perez also explained our techniques on risk assessment and climate change impact and adaptation.
A senior lecturer in Vietnam National University , Do Minh Duc, presented climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. He also discussed the traditional knowledge as a way of enhancing local awareness on climate change.
Mai Trong Nhuan, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Panel on Climate Change, talked about the greenhouse gases and their relation to climate change. He explained that with the increasing presence of these gases, temperatures rise, creating global warming. He added that building a low-carbon society was an effective way for climate change mitigation.
After the workshop, we ate seafood dinner in a cruise. We were also entertained by song and dance numbers from Vietnamese performers. I learned that Vietnamese love karaoke just like the Filipinos.
Day 1 was very informative and enjoyable. The knowledge that I gained from this experience will certainly be beneficial for me as a weather presenter. We may belong to different countries, but we only have one goal: to be able to communicate climate change in the simplest yet most effective way.