Filipino, Japanese scientists team up for first next gen weather monitoring system in PH

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A team of Japanese and Filipino scientists are working together to establish the first next generation extreme weather monitoring system in the Philippines to help boost the country’s disaster resiliency.

The project “Development of Extreme Weather Monitoring and Information Sharing System” amounting to 500M yen is a 5-year collaboration of scientists and researchers under the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Japan Science and Technology under SATREPS (Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development) program.

“The flooding in Thailand in 2011, tropical storm Ondoy in the Philippines in 2009, and then Typhoon Yolanda in 2013 showed us the human toll, economic losses, and supply chain risks that extreme weather entails,” said JICA Senior Representative Ayumu Ohshima. “JICA welcomes this partnership of Filipino and Japanese scientists to enhance disaster information sharing and research.”

Scientists from ASTI and Japan’s Hokkaido University will establish a lightning detection network using automatic lightning and weather monitoring system as well as the Philippines’ first microsatellite DIWATA-1.

Also part of the project are the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and University of the Philippines Diliman.

“This lightning detection network will be the first that can estimate both location and energy of lightning in the Philippines and could be a model for other Asian countries to help predict intensity of severe weather events and mitigate damages,” said Professor Mitsuteru Sato of the Faculty of Science in Hokkaido University.

Lightning activities, according to Sato, are closely related to thunderstorm intensity and severe weather such as typhoons, tornadoes, and torrential rainfall.

In the western Pacific, the eastward oceanic region in the Philippines is the main nest of typhoons.

Data from PAGASA showed that approximately 20 tropical cyclones visit the Philippines every year, ten of which are typhoons with strong winds. 

The project is the first development cooperation of JICA with another DOST institution [ASTI] other than Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS). In the Philippines, JICA has initiated 6 projects under SATREPS including capacity building for earthquake and volcano monitoring of Filipino seismologists and volcanologists.