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PIA Press Release
2008/02/25

Buy 2 more doppler radars to save lives, crops - PGMA directs DOST

Tacloban City (February 25) -- Amid the recent calamity that befell the Eastern Pacific seaboard of the country, because of continuous heavy rains, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo disclosed that she has directed the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to buy two additional Doppler radars for weather forecasting that will save lives and save crops.

She shared the good news during her interaction with the local media in Tacloban on February 23 where she had a brief stop-over on her way to flood-stricken Dolores, Eastern Samar.

The President thanked the Congressmen who were present, for providing P300 Million for additional radar system. She gave the assurance that she has instructed the DOST Secretary to get the best technology, the best price in accordance with the government procurement system.

As of presstime, at least 32 persons were killed, ten were reported missing and some 300,000 people have been displaced as continuous heavy rains brought floods in Eastern Visayas. This statistics will run high as the statistics in the other areas in the Pacific seaboard of the country are totaled.

It would be recalled that in 1995, the capability of PAGASA was enhanced with the arrival of a state-of-the-art Doppler Radar which can determine the amount of rainfall a tropical cyclone carries unlike conventional radars.

In November of 2007, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo directed the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to fast track the purchase of two Doppler radars to keep weather trackers a step ahead of disasters brought about by typhoons and other weather disturbances.

Doppler radar is a key forecasting tool.Doppler refers to the principle the Austrian scientist Christian Doppler discovered in 1842. Doppler worked out his ideas using sound waves, long before radio, much less radar, was invented.

All weather radars send out radio waves from an antenna. Objects in the air, such as raindrops, snow crystals, hailstones or even insects and dust, scatter or reflect some of the radio waves back to the antenna. All weather radars, including Doppler, electronically convert the reflected radio waves into pictures showing the location and intensity of precipitation.

Doppler radars also measure the frequency change in returning radio waves. Waves reflected by something moving away from the antenna change to a lower frequency, while waves from an object moving toward the antenna change to a higher frequency.

The computer that's a part of a Doppler radar uses the frequency changes to show directions and speeds of the winds blowing around the raindrops, insects and other objects that reflected the radio waves.

Scientists and forecasters have learned how to use these pictures of wind motions in storms, or even in clear air, to more clearly understand what's happening now and what's likely to happen in the next hour or two. (PIA 8) [top]

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