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PIA Press Release
2009/10/08

Pag-asa asks public to be keen observers of weather

Iloilo City (8 October) -- They are called Weather Observers, not forecasters. They ask that the public as well to be keen weather observers.

Weather Station Officer in-Charge Rafael Tapales of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA)-Iloilo, said in the event of adverse and extreme weather conditions, the public should likewise, we observant and alert.

Tapales said this in the wake of public clamor that PAGASA is never accurate on its forecasting.

The PAGASA chief here said that what they do in the weather stations is simply observe and gather data and feed them to their central weather station in Manila where these data are analyzed along with other weather systems and are then released as bulletins.

"Weather is not a 100 percent exact mathematics and only a little change in the wind can create displacement in weather system, hence the public should also be observant, with us," Tapales said.

The public, Tapales added, upon hearing PAGASA forecasts, should be aware that these may change, therefore, they should be alert and prepared, for they will gain more by being so.

Science and Technology Director Rowen Gelonga said weather forecasting is a difficult act because different models are used to analyze various weather systems which interact with other factors.

Gelonga said models or programs and softwares for analysis are complicated and while what are used here are similar with that of other countries, the Philippine weather agency still lacks many of the equipment, particularly radars, to make its forecasting more efficient.

Gelonga said that while it is taking a long time to acquire these radars, the public should know that with the challenges of climate change, we need radars that can also detect amount of rainfall to determine flooding.

"What the public should understand is that you just don't buy radars and use them. They are ordered outside the country and it will take the manufacturer almost two years to fabricate one, then the installation will take another year because of some programming to do," Gelonga said.

Gelonga said a radar's coverage is limited and a radar in one place cannot be used in another, hence, the PAGASA needs a network of more radars.

Gelonga said there are efforts by the national government to upgrade PAGASA's capabilities, only it will take some time, as the country needs more time also to boost its science and technology thrusts. (PIA6/ESS) [top]

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