The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, commonly known as PAGASA, is the country’s official meteorological and hydrological services provider—which means that the bureau is more than just about the weather. Read on to discover what other things PAGASA busies itself with.
PAGASA studies heavenly bodies. Astronomical events such as the blue moon, falling stars, and lunar and solar eclipses, offer us an extravagant show in the sky. To let us know when we can enjoy these heavenly displays, PAGASA has a pool of astronomers that closely monitor such events. The bureau’s astronomy divisions is located at the PAGASA Science Garden in Quezon City and at the University of the Philippines Diliman Observatory, where the public can observe the stars and planets.
PAGASA is the country’s official timekeeper. The Philippine Standard Time (PhST) is also one of PAGASA’s services. For meteorologists, this allows accurate documentation of the atmosphere at certain time frames, which serve as the initial basis of forecasting weather and floods. For seismologists, PhST helps in determining the epicenter of an earthquake. Under Presidential Decree 1149, PAGASA was declared as the official agency to disseminate PhST.
PAGASA takes part in nation-building. By being immersed in climatological studies, PAGASA helps in creating sustainable projects by providing both public and private sectors information that will enhance the country’s capability to adapt to environmental changes. It also conducts regular Information and Education Campaigns (IEC) in Local Government Units and the academe for disaster preparedness.
PAGASA has specific weather forecasts. Aside from the 24-hour public weather forecasts disseminated to the public, PAGASA also caters to specific clients, such as farmers and fishermen. Its Farm Weather Forecast gives details on what temperatures should be expected in upland and lowland farms, as well as the range of relative humidity and leaf wetness which helps in maintaining the quality of crops. Meanwhile, its Shipping Forecast provides information regarding the maritime safety, providing gale warnings that notify fishermen and other maritime services of sea conditions.
PAGASA is everywhere. The weather bureau has 58 synoptic stations, 23 agromet stations, 10 radar station and 7 upper air stations planted throughout the archipelago. Each of these stations has different instruments used to measure temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind speed, wind direction, humidity and the amount of rainfall over the area. All these daily weather observations are then transmitted to PAGASA’s Weather and Flood Forecasting Center in Quezon City.
With all these responsibilities under its belt, PAGASA strives to continue to live up to its acronym—giving hope to the nation in different ways: helping the public prepare for weather changes, assisting the country’s backbone workforce, and telling us when we can lie on our backs and wish on stars that streak across the night sky.