Philippines getting hotter, ADB study says

by Jojo Malig,

Posted at Apr 27 2012 12:42 AM | Updated as of Apr 27 2012 04:03 PM

MANILA, Philippines - If the weather seems to be hotter nowadays, it's not just your imagination.

Temperature in the Philippines has risen steadily in last 6 decades, a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) paper said.

The annual average temperature in the country rose at a rate of 0.65 degrees Celsius (33.17 degrees Fahrenheit) from 1951 to 2010, or an average of 0.0108  degrees Celsius annually, according to the ADB's "Learning Lessons: Intense Climate-Related Natural Disasters in Asia and the Pacific."

The paper, which tackled global warming and its effects on natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific, said the rate of increase has become faster in the last 30 years.

"The number of hot days and warm nights is increasing, and the number of cold days and cool nights decreasing," it added.

Extreme rainfall

At the other end of climate change phenomenon, scientists also found evidence of increasing frequency of extreme daily rainfall.

In Luzon, more frequent rainfall of greater than 350 millimeters have been recorded in the latter part of the 2000s, than the 275 millimeter
events of the 1960s and 1970s, the paper said.

Examples of recent extreme rainfall events that struck the country are tropical storm Ondoy, which dumped 454.9 mm of water in Metro Manila in less than 24 hours in 2009, and tropical storm Sendong, which dumped more than 400 mm of rainwater in parts of Mindanao last year.

Sendong was the world's deadliest storm for 2011, killing more than 1,200 people, leaving more than 100 others missing.

It also left more than P2 billion in damaged or destroyed property and infrastructure.

"Climate is changing in the Philippines, as are all the elements of risk: hazard, vulnerability, and exposure," the ADB paper said. "While the annual
frequency of tropical cyclones shows no trend, damage and casualties are rising, with huge recent damage from tropical cyclones of lower intensity than typhoons, but with much heavier rains."

Typhoons changing paths

It added that the typical path of tropical cyclones has also changed in the past 60 years.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the most frequent tropical cyclone activity was in the eastern part of the country. By the 1970s, typhoons headed for northern Luzon.

In the last decade, the path of tropical cyclones veered to the Visayas, the paper revealed.

"The main effects of climate change may well be in the near future. There is evidence that the increasing frequency of intense weather-related disasters is caused by a confluence of the changing nature of hazards that are affected by climate change," the ADB said.

"The evidence suggests that disasters are taking a heavier toll on such low-income and lower-middle-income countries," it added.

"Data from the Philippines illustrates these issues well, with the path and frequency of tropical cyclones changing and the number of hot days and warm nights increasing," the paper said.

The ADB said better mitigation and adaptation, as well as refining hazard mapping and various risk assessment systems, are needed to deal with the situation.

"Mainstreaming disaster management and climate adaptation is ultimately about reducing disaster risk, aside from mitigating the impact of the consequences of disasters," it added.