Saturday, October 24, 2009

Climate change spooks weather bureau - Hopeless PAG-ASA VII

Climate change has made weather forecasting doubly hard. The Philippines now have four seasons, dry, very dry, wet, and very wet. The agency hardest hit by climate change is the PAG-ASA. The Philippine weather bureau, long ridiculed for wrong forecasts, continues to suffer setbacks with its weather forecasts. The people don't mind though. We have learned to expect the opposite of their predictions. We continue to prepare for the worst, but often, PAG-ASA's predictions of very bad weather do not come true.

Typhoon Pepeng was supposed to veer away from Luzon. But it came back a number of times, pouring rains that necessitated the opening of dams, causing much destruction of lives and property. Of course, PAG-ASA does not have Doppler radars to determine rain volume, but that's for the rain volume. Is the Doppler also needed to predict the typhoon's path?

Before Pepeng, typhoon Ondoy was not advertised as it was. In many other times, PAG-ASA raised the alarms for impending strong typhoons. Signals were raised, classes were suspended, only for the sun to shine mightily the next day. PAG-ASA is the weather bureau who cried wolf.

With typhoon Ramil, PAG-ASA once again raised the signal and even hinted of a signal no.4. The country, particularly the northern part, prepared for the onslaught and prayed to high heavens to spare the country. The weather gods listened and once again PAG-ASA was red faced. Other weather agencies predicted Ramil will veer away, PAG-ASA expected it to hit us. Kaya ang iba nagsasabing huwag nang umasa sa PAG-ASA - 'wag asa.

But wait, if we want to be spared of a typhoon's wrath, we have just to make PAG-ASA predict a landfall, and the typhoon will go away. This space has been underestimating the value of the agency. PAG-ASA is not hopeless after all. My apologies.

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