PAGASA celebrates 150th anniversary; introduces new system for better weather forecasting

By on March 24, 2015


PAGASA DOST Headquarters in Quezon City (Photo courtesy of panahon.tv)
PAGASA DOST Headquarters in Quezon City (Photo courtesy of panahon.tv)

MANILA — To improve weather forecasting in the country, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) launched its new services during its 150th Anniversary on Monday.

Esperanza Cayanan, officer in charge of PAGASA’s weather division, said the improved services are the Storm Surge Warning Signals (SSWS), Modified Tropical Cyclone Warning System (MTCWS), new PAGASA website, Simplification of Weather/Climate Information Materials and the meteorological glossary “Patnubay sa Weder Forkast”.

The SSWS is the newest service of PAGASA- a shift from general weather forecast to working towards the impact –based storm surge forcasting and warning. It is similar with the current color–coded Rainfall Warning System of the agency and is classified according to the level of severity and required action to minimize risks.

According to PAGASA acting administrator Vicente Malano, the storm surge warning system is their newest service.

“It is a shift from the general weather forecast to working toward the impact-based storm surge forecasting and warning,” he said.

Ms. Ma. Cecelia Monteverde, Asst. Weather Service Chief, Research and Development & Traning Division, said that there is a need for Impact-based Storm Surge Warning for:

– Warnings issued are based solely on weather criteria — Convey what the impact of storm surge hazard could do to an individual or community at risk;

– Need for staged warning (e.g., green, yellow, orange, red Alert levels), to emphasize the severity of the impacts.

– Ease of communication and delivery to probable affected areas.

• Green – no action required. Evacuation not necessary.
• Yellow – Storm Surge is possible-be aware. Get ready. Stay Away from the coast or beach.
• Orange – Storm Surge is expected-be prepared. Conditions could be life threatening. Evacuate to safer areas.
• Red – Significant threat to life-take action. Catastrophic. Mandatory evacuation is enforced;

Incorporating the risk analysis of Dr. Leoncio Amadore, former director of PAGASA, the modified Public Storm Warning System will focus on the Super Typhoon category and will emphasize on an impact-based warning system.

The weather bureau will soon launch a new website under in compliance with Administrative Order No. 39 mandating allgovernment agencies to migrate to the government webhosting services of the Department of Science and Technology- information and communications technology office, he added.

Another PAGASA’s new development is the Be Secure Project that simplifies technical terms of climate forecasts, he cited.

To be able to finalize a glossary of meteorological terms in Filipino, Malano said PAGASA had partnered with the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino.

The “Patnubay sa Weder Forkast”, a glossary of meteorological terms in Filipino will be presented for the first time.

The said glossary was created by Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino, in consultation with the DOST-PAGASA.

Cayanan said they will use a mascot named Ella the Umbrella to make people easily understand their forecasts.

Meanwhile the “Be Secure Project, is the newest addition to the agency’s efforts in simplifying technical terms that will ensure that climate information is understood.

Under the Project, the USAID is closely working with PAGASA to help improve its response to the people’s needs through the following:

• Facilitating the twinning between PAGASA and the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) to help enhance PAGASA’s regional weather forecasts to the needs of water service providers and other local government units: and

• Simplification and branding of PAGASA’s weather/climate forecasts and information materials to fit specific sector needs.

PAGASA celebrated its 150th founding anniversarythrough a scientific forum on Monday, poster-making contest, employees loyalty award and conferment of Wind Vane award.